The commerce ministry will sit on Monday to decide on the proposed ban on the import of poultry items from neighbouring countries including India to help protect the local poultry industry from bird flu contamination.
“We have planned to hold a meeting in the upcoming week to take decision on the proposed import ban on poultry birds,” a senior official familiar with the issue said.
He further said: “We will review the recommendations put forward by the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).”
DLS has recently made a set of recommendations, including strong vigilance and other precautions, to contain bird flu contamination.
The fisheries and livestock ministry has again sought steps to ban import of poultry items from neighbouring countries to contain the spread of bird flu in Bangladesh, officials said.
DLS has suggested supply of adequate rapid test kits and personal protective equipment to help protect the local poultry sector from any possible flu outbreak.
The department proposed setting up checkpoints on roads and highways to ensure disinfectant spray on poultry-laden vehicles and distribute leaflets, festoons and banners to create public awareness.
It also recognised the need for strengthening vaccination of avian influenza across the country.
The private poultry producers should also be incentivised to ensure vaccination.
Earlier, the commerce ministry sought opinion from the regarding a likely ban on the import of poultry items.
The department concerned has recently sent recommendations to the livestock ministry.
Earlier, the livestock ministry asked the commerce ministry to take required steps in this regard.
The livestock ministry has requested the commerce ministry again to take action regarding a ban on import of poultry products. It received recommendations from the livestock department, an official said.
“We’ll take the next course of action as early as possible to this end,” he told the FE.
In the second week of January, the livestock ministry in a letter asked the department concerned to take all possible steps to contain bird flu.
It directed to take precautions in all districts, including the frontier ones, through intensive supervision of 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 it to ensure the supply of adequate test kits and protective gear at district and upazila veterinary hospitals and laboratories.
For bio safety of farms, it also ordered to launch widespread campaign to warn farmers and verify the existing stock of vaccines for flu prevention.
Amid concern over bird flu outbreak in India, an intelligence report earlier suggested taking measures to stop poultry import from India, especially through land ports, to check virus transmission.
It also recommended formation of a high-powered committee comprising experts from livestock department for suggestions to contain bird flu.
The Prime Minister’s Office referred the report to the ministry concerned for an action plan to this effect.
According to the report, the bird flu situation has turned severe in different Indian states and it might also spread across Bangladesh.
The owners of Bangladeshi poultry farms are thus worried over the flu outbreak in India.
Avian influenza was detected in poultry, cow, crow, pigeon, kite, duck and black stork populations, forcing India to cull tens of thousands of poultry birds.
Sector insiders said Bangladesh currently imports a very negligible amount of poultry items from India.
In border areas, some people are involved in smuggling poultry items like day-old chicks which, the businesses fear, might cause the spread of flu in Bangladesh.
The government’s proposed ban would not create any crisis in meeting the demand for and supply of the items, they added.
Bangladesh mainly imports parent stock and grandparent stock from European countries, the insiders mentioned.