The Financial Express

Dhaka slaps ban on poultry import to stop bird flu

| Updated: January 18, 2021 15:43:27

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File photo. (Collected) File photo. (Collected)

Amid serious concerns over bird flu outbreak in India, Bangladesh is set to ban import of any poultry item in the country.

The office of the chief controller of imports and exports is expected to issue an order in this regard today (Monday), officials said.

The move followed an advice of the prime minister's office that referred to an intelligence agency report.

According to the report, the situation has turned severe in the neighbouring country and the bird flu or avian influenza might also spread in Bangladesh.

Until Friday last, the spread of the flu was confirmed in 11 states of India - Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Gujarat - causing concerns among the owners of Bangladeshi poultry farms.

The avian influenza was detected in poultry, cows, crows, pigeons, kite, duck and black stork, forcing the Indian authorities to cull tens of thousands of poultry birds in the affected regions.

Sector insiders said presently Bangladesh imports very negligible quantity of poultry items from India. In the bordering areas, some people are involved in smuggling of poultry items like day old chicks which the businesses fear might cause spreading the flu in Bangladesh too.

The intelligence agency report suggested taking measures to contain import of poultry items from India, especially through land ports to prevent the spread of bird flu.

The report also recommended formation of a high-powered committee comprising experts from the department of livestock services for providing necessary suggestions to prevent spread of the flu.

Earlier on Tuesday last, the ministry of fisheries and livestock in a letter to the department of livestock services asked for taking all possible steps to contain the virus.

It directed the department to detect bird flu and take precautionary measures in all districts, including the frontier ones, through ensuring intensive supervision on both public and private farms.

The department was also asked to collect and test quickly in the nearest lab if any dead or suspicious fowl or bird is found.

Besides, the ministry asked the department to ensure supply of adequate volume of sample test kits and personal protective equipment at the district and upazila veterinary hospitals and laboratories.

For the bio safety of farms, the ministry also instructed to launch widespread campaign to warn farmers, and verifying the existing stock of vaccines for bird flu prevention.

President of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) Mashiur Rahman told the FE on Sunday that they do not import anything relating to poultry industry from India since 2012 due to bird flu outbreak there.

"The government's new ban would not create any crisis on demand and supply of the poultry items," said Mr. Rahman, informing that Bangladesh mainly imports parent stock and grandparent stock from European countries.

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