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Government of Canada working with British Columbia on avian flu surveillance

Approximately $300,000 being invested into detection and response

By Diego Flammini,

In an attempt to better prepare for a potential avian flu outbreak, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is partnering with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen avian flu surveillance, detection and response.

Upwards of $300,000 will be invested into new equipment that’ll be used to diagnose samples obtained by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. Funding will also be provided to ensure rapid responses should an outbreak occur and owners of small poultry flocks will be asked to attend workshops on subjects including poultry health.

The investment into avian flu surveillance comes after B.C.’s Fraser Valley experienced an outbreak in December 2014, resulting in more than 140,000 birds being destroyed; and seven countries including the United States, Japan, Mexico and China temporarily banning poultry imports from the province or Canada entirely.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2014, British Columbia produced 103,899 chickens and 2,727 turkeys. The total combined value of the two birds was $418,256.

Avian flu isn’t the only item Canada and B.C. are working together on.

The province’s agri-food industry will receive $900,000 to be split between 16 new projects aimed at supporting innovation and technology in the sector.

Funded projects include testing a foliar spray to reduce premature fruit drop and testing a bird control product to protect cherries, grapes and berries.

“The British Columbia agriculture industry is always looking for new ways to remain competitive,” said Norm Letnick, B.C. Minister of Agriculture. “With this funding support, the projects will benefit the entire sector while assisting them in earning more dollars.”

Join the discussion and tell us your thoughts on the investment into B.C.’s agriculture and agri-food sectors.

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