THE agriculture industry said it needs “clear” directives from the government amid confusion in enforcing quarantine rules following the avian influenza outbreak in Central Luzon.

“A clear palace directive is now needed,” said Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, Inc. (SINAG) President Rosendo O. So in a text message on Monday.

“The DA (Department of Agriculture) has no legal or institutional mandate to mobilize other government agencies. There is confusion and at times contradictory directives from different agencies and LGUs (local government units),” Mr. So said.

“There must be an interagency task force so the mandate is clear and all directives are complementary,” he added.

Lawyer Elias Jose M. Inciong, president of United Broilers Raisers Association which is under SINAG, said the DA should also exert efforts to restore consumer and producer confidence by clarifying that the broiler sector — poultry raised for meat — was not affected.

“It would be helpful to the broiler sector for the DA to stress that no broilers have been directly affected but only layers. These are different types of chicken,” Mr. Inciong said in a text message over the weekend.

Layers are chickens raised to produce eggs.

The DA has said that only layer chickens will be affected but the psychological impact of the outbreak has led many to avoid all chicken products.

Following the outbreak, restaurant operators and poultry growers have since been releasing statements to assure the public of the safety of their poultry products for human consumption. — Janina C. Lim