Villar pushes assistance package for farmers affected by bird flu outbreak

Sen. Cynthia Villar said an assistance program should be immediately implemented to help farmers, especially the small backyard livestock growers, who are affected by the bird flu outbreak in San Luis, Pampanga.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said apart from the financial assistance package being prepared by the Department of Agriculture (DA), alternative livelihood sources should also be made available to farmers who will not have a source of income for the next 4 to 5 months.

"I am praying with the farmers that this outbreak will be contained and will be prevented from spreading to other areas," Villar said.

In a press conference, DA Secretary Emmanuel PiAol announced that a compensation of P80 per head culled and a loan assistance of P25,000 will be given to farmers.

Dr. Arlene Vytianco, head of the Animal Disease Center, said culling operation for 200,000 infected fowls will be completed by Thursday and it will take a minimum of 90 days before growers could start raising fowls again pending quarantine, disinfection and monitoring procedures.

"In support of other Pampanga poultry raisers, we should emphasize that not all Pampanga fowls are infected. In fact, as confirmed by experts, only nine commercial farms, four quail farms and four duck farms in San Luis are infected by the virus," Villar said.

Villar said she is hopeful that the outbreak would not cause a significant gap on supply of chicken and poultry products that local raisers in different parts of the country could not fill up.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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