In an effort to safeguard its US$ 3.5 billion poultry sector, Brazil has launched a 100 million reais (US$ 45 million) plan to prevent two deadly diseases: bird flu and Newcastle disease.
The Brazilian Agriculture Ministry will spend the funds improving research infrastructure, training personnel, inspecting poultry imports, and raising public awareness.
The plan, to be enacted in March, details measures for detecting and containing an outbreak if any bird flu virus, including the H5N1 strain that has killed 79 people to date, reaches Brazil.
They include a ban on transporting birds for slaughter within Brazil and periodic inspections of poultry farms. These will be mapped by satellite to assist authorities to rapidly impose emergency measures in the area of an outbreak.
Marcelo Mota, coordinator of Ministry’s national program for poultry health, says the ban on transporting birds for slaughter will remain until the Ministry is sure all Brazilian states are equipped to monitor the disease and it spreading.
"If the disease contaminates a specific region, we want to have quick answers to neutralize [the outbreak], avoid other areas being contaminated and maintain our status as world’s biggest exporters in this sector."
Representatives of the poultry sector gave the plan their backing on 12 January.
Last year Brazil exported 2.8 million tons of chicken meat to 150 countries
This article appeared originally in Science and Development Network – www.scidev.net.