Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Poultry disease cleared up, minister says

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE AUTHORITIES believe the Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), which saw 240,000 poultry wiped out recently, is finally being brought under control.

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said yesterday that “it appears we have brought the virus under control”.
Since the outbreak of the virus last month, around 50,000 poultry died of the disease while a further 190,000 were culled, mainly in chicken farms in the area west of Nicosia, around Mammari.

Kouyialis told the Cyprus Mail that it appears the outbreak has been restricted to the three farms in Mammari where the virus first appeared, excluding a few small household units where chickens were kept.

“Tests are conducted on a daily basis, farms are disinfected every day and we have not seen any new outbreak, but there is a remote risk. To be absolutely sure the virus is under control, we need more time to pass,” he said.

In total, around 15 per cent of poultry in Cyprus has been affected by the virus.

Earlier this week, the minister went to Brussels seeking EU aid to help with the cost of the outbreak, which is calculated at approximately €680,000, including poultry either killed by the disease or the Cypriot authorities.

According to Kouyialis, he has received an oral commitment from the EU Health Commissioner’s office to cover 75 per cent of the cost of containment- specifically, the destruction of nearly 200,000 chickens- with the government expected to foot the remainder. No compensation is earmarked for the over 50,000 chickens killed by the disease.

However, the minister noted that nothing was certain until he received the pledge for co-funding in writing.

Kouyialis also requested aid from the EU’s agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos, arguing that the NDV has resulted in a near 30 per cent drop in consumption of poultry meat, impacting upon breeding and hatching farms.

Backing his claim for further EU assistance, the minister claimed that the virus originated in the occupied north of the island, noting Mammari’s proximity to the buffer zone.

According to website, www.worldpoultry.net, commissioner Ciolos said Cyprus had yet to make a clear case to compensate for market disturbance.

“The figures in our possession do not suggest a fall in prices and, as a consequence, we cannot conclude that there has been a loss of consumer confidence,” he was quoted saying.

Kouyialis confirmed that the commissioner asked the Cypriot authorities to prove there has been a disturbance in the market as a result of the outbreak, with price and demand falling, impacting upon on producers.

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