Poultry farmers in Ghana are yet to see the necessary change expected in the country’s poultry industry two years after the launch of the Ghana Broiler Revitalization Project (GHABROP).
The novelty project spanning for 10 years aims at boosting local capacity in the production, processing and marketing of broiler chicken in the once vibrant poultry production country.
In order to make a different from several failed poultry industry revitalisation projects embarked upon by successive governments, members of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) have called for a documented legal policy on the 40 per cent broiler import substitution policy under the project.
The Vice Chairman of the GNAPF, Napoleon Agyemang Oduro lamented: “Since the launch of the project, we have not seen any change in the poultry industry”.
This, he attributed to the absence of the documented legal policy to guide existing and potential investors on the modalities of investing in the country’s broiler and the general poultry industry.
The 40 per cent import substitution which mandates importers to 40 per cent of their poultry products from farmers in the country, according him is a just word of mouth policy. We do not have a legal document on that, he stated.
“As an association, we do not have the documented policy likewise the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI). So, our Members of Parliament (MPs) cannot stand on any document to formulate a policy for the project to regulate the poultry industry”, Mr Oduro added.
He therefore called on the government as a matter of urgency to formulate the broiler revitalisation legal policy document to catapult the growth of the country’s poultry industry.
According to him, the project which was launched by the association in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture last year, could not be operationalized in its current form because ‘it had not gone through the various processes to become a policy’.
Mr Oduro explained that the absence of the legal framework is derailing efforts of the association to start working towards the national objective for the 40 per cent broiler import substitution.
He said this is equivalent to the production of 65 million birds locally and this would create employment and improve the socio-economic conditions of poultry farmers in the country.
Banks reluctant to support industry
The Vice Chairman of the GNAPF disclosed that some banks in the country are reluctant to support poultry farmers with loans due to the large of documented policy of the project.
“As you know, we need financial institutions support to enable us revamp the poultry. But the absence of a documented policy is affecting the revamping of the industry”.
The Director, Logistics and Value Chain at the MoTI, Papa Kow Bartels used the opportunity to appeal to the members of the GNAPF to come out with bankable projects to attract funding from commercial banks.
He supported the argument that poultry farming is a private-led enterprise but called on the poultry growers to embrace new innovations and technologies turn the industry around.
The GHABROP when supported well by all the stakeholders, according to the Director, Logistics and Value Chain at the MoTI, Papa Kow Bartels would also develop the poultry industry along the poultry value chain and ensure that production farms, input suppliers, hatcheries, feed mills, veterinary service producers, processors, marketers/cold stores and consumers all play their roles to ensure self-sufficiency.
The project the Deputy Director, Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Anthony Akunzule noted was an initiative of the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), and MoTI in collaboration with the GNAPF also aims at boosting the local poultry industry.
The target of the project is to produce 30,000 metric tonnes of broiler meat with an expected increase to 60,000 metric tonnes by the year 2016.
Currently, the local poultry industry players produced 5 per cent of chicken for the country’s chicken needs while 95 per cent of the chicken consumed in Ghana is imported.
But statistics between 2010 and 2012 indicated that Ghana imported approximately 200,000 metric tonnes of chicken valued at 200 million dollars which is equivalent to 2.6 million chicken per week.
High cost of poultry production
However apart from the legal framework for the GHABROP project, he lamented that the removal of import duties on products increase the cost of local poultry production, while poultry feeds alone accounted for 70 to 80 per cent of the production cost.
“You look at Ghana; the main ingredient for poultry production is maize. But human beings compete with the poultry for the maize.
Apart from that our yields from maize farms are very low lately. So, we import maize especially the yellow maize for poultry and human consumption. These are the factors that contribute to the high cost of poultry production in the country”, Dr Akunzule emphasised.
It could be recalled that Ghana started commercial poultry production in 1952. During that the country’s poultry was booming and contributed tremendously to employment creation, but after the liberalisation of the industry in the 1980s, the poultry industry noose-dived.
It is no secret that the industry has lost grounds to imported chicken and other poultry products.
The craze for imports is understandable when one takes cognizance of the fact that imported poultry products tend to be 30-40% cheaper than the locally produced chicken.