Poultry Farmers Issue Worries FAEG

Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw

A civil society group — Forum For An Excellent Ghana (FAEG) — has criticised the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw, for the delay in releasing compensation to poultry farmers whose birds/farms were destroyed in 2015 during the outbreak of Bird Flu Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI H5NI) in Ghana.

The organisation has also questioned the former deputy minister on why no action has been taken to compensate the affected poultry farmers, asserting that it is appalled by the revelation made by the National President of the Ghana Poultry Farmers Association (GPFA), Victor Oppong.

The Founding President of FAEG, Carl Nii Addo, said the revelation that majority members of the poultry farmers group are yet to receive compensation for the birds and farms destroyed is “shocking”.

In a statement released to the media, Mr. Addo said his organisation was again “appalled by the explanation from the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture, who was  in charge of livestock, Dr. Bissiw, that monies allocated for the compensation of poultry farmers whose farms were affected by the disease, had been used for logistics and administrative expenditure.”

According to him, this action was taken by the former deputy minister notwithstanding the government’s initial purchase of six vehicles, 20 motorbikes and the establishment of laboratories to help contain the bird flu disease outside the amount voted for compensation.

“In performing our proper role and constitutional duty of demanding accountability and transparency, it is our conviction that her farcical and ludicrous position confirms that Dr. Louisa Hannah Bissiw neglected her duty of care and still appears unrepentant in helping the farmers receive compensation, but she is rather adding insults to injuries.

“Excellent Ghana, therefore, calls on our venerable Dr. Hannah Bissiw (being directly in charge then) and indeed the government to assuage our fears by clearly telling our suffering poultry farmers and Ghanaians how much fund was entirely voted by the John Dramani Mahama government and other bodies for the containment of bird flu between 2015 and 2016 (sic),” he said.

The FAEG founding president again wanted to know how much of the released amount was actually paid to affected poultry farmers, and added that the group also wanted to know how these monies were expended during the period.

“Under what circumstances and whose control was the amount released for the compensation to the affected farmers disbursed, and the provisions and procedures followed for the disbursement?” he asked rhetorically.

The civil society group wants to know whether Ghana suffered any financial loss or misappropriation from the use of money meant for compensation to the poultry farmers.

By Ernest Kofi Adu