Ogun State Government says it will harness the Integrated Surveillance Response, as well as engaging in continuous education of farmers on preventive measures for the Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease currently ravaging farms in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said on Friday at a seminar for poultry farmers at Veterinary Hospital Complex, Ita-Eko, Abeokuta, while reacting to the emergence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Diseases (RHDs) in the animal’s farms in Ogun.
The seminar has the theme: “Promoting and Sustaining Healthy and Profitable Cuniculture in Ogun State”, as a way of combating the spread of emerging RHDs.
He also warned stakeholders in rabbit meat value-chain against the use of unauthorised vaccine, saying it would further cause outbreaks of diseases to farm animals.
Odedina, represented by Dr Dotun Sorunke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, conveyed government’s sympathy to the affected farmers, whose farms were ravaged by RHDs.
He said that vaccination of rabbits against the disease was not an option as other nations of the world using vaccine had continued to have outbreaks.
“We empathise with the dire situation rabbit farmers have been plunged into in the last couple of weeks, and I must say that your losses have not gone unnoticed by the Gov. Dapo Abiodun-led administration.
“Having lost over 3,000 rabbits to this outbreak, concerted effort is thus being harnessed toward integrated surveillance response and continuous education of farmers and stakeholders in the rabbit meat value-chain.
“I must emphasise that vaccination of rabbits against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease is not an option as other countries using vaccine have continued to have outbreaks.
“This is not uncorrelated with the presence of several variants of the virus and the absence of cross protection among the strains, thus lending credence to the fact that vaccine is not the solution to RHDs,” he said.
Dr Taiwo Jolaoso, Director of Veterinary Service, while delivering his lecture titled, “Cuniculture: Where It Was, Where It Is and Where It Ought To Be”, described Cuniculture as the practice of raising domestic animal for meat or food.
He said that it must be promoted and sustained as it was a source of employment and meat supply.
He, however, warned against contaminated feeds, importation of breeds from untrusted sources and poor bio-security that could destroy the industry.
The director also lamented that most rabbit farmers were not registered with the government, saying that unregistered farmers would not be recognised by the government and would not enjoy government’s intervention.
He noted that the habit of rabbit farmers not consulting veterinary doctors contributed largely to the outbreak of the communicable disease in the industry.
He urged farmers to make sure they were registered with the government in order for them to be recognised.
One of the participants, Mr Oluwakemi Balogun from Ijebu-Ode, said he was encouraged by the seminar, noting, “I am seeing government’s responsiveness and I’m giving Gov. Dapo Abiodun 100 per cent in responding to farmers’ plight.”
Balogun, promised to imbibe all the lessons of the seminar and work with the government to promote rabbitry business.