Mr Napoleon Oduro, Vice President of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers has called for a national policy for the sector to enhance its operation and revitalize the industry.
Mr Oduro said the country had pieces of consultative documents without a clear-cut policy for the industry, and called for a legislative instrument to protect the sector and increase poultry production in the country.
He was speaking during a panel discussion in Accra on the Ghana Journalists Association programme dubbed: ‘Business Advocate’ on Ghana Television supported by BUSAC Fund, DANIDA, United States Agency for International Development and the European Union.
Mr Oduro said in 2014, government launched the Ghana Broiler Revitalization Project to boost local capacity in the production, processing and marketing of broiler chicken but failed to back it up with the needed legislative instrument.
The project sought to develop the poultry industry along the poultry value chain and ensure that production farms, input suppliers, hatcheries, feed mills, veterinary service producers, processors, marketers and consumers all played their roles to ensure self-sufficiency.
The project was also to revive the local broiler industry between 2010 and 2012 during which the country had imported approximately 200,000 metric tonnes of chicken valued at 200 million dollars which is equivalent to 2.6 million chicken per week.
Mr Oduro said the country was deficient in her meat and milk requirements and that the present levels of livestock and poultry production were woefully inadequate to meet the animal protein needs of the population.
He explained that the situation had resulted in Ghana becoming a net importer of frozen meat of which poultry meat constituted the highest proportion.
He said the Association was calling for government’s support to expand the production of broilers locally since imported ones were taking over the market.
Mr Oduro explained that the lack of production materials and high cost of production had raised the prices of local broilers, making imported ones gain a larger market share due to their comparatively low prices.
“The Ghana National Association of poultry farmers was calling for the implementation of government policy which mandates importers to patronise 40 per cent of local poultry products while reserving the right to import 60 per cent of foreign ones”, he added.
Dr Anthony Akunzule, Deputy Director, Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said the target of the project was to produce 30,000 metric tonnes of broiler meat with an expected increase to 60,000 metric tonnes by 2016.
These targets, he said, would progressively reduce Ghana’s meat import burden to 40 per cent by 2016, in line with MOFA’s national livestock strategy policy to increase the supply of meat, animal and dairy products from the current aggregate level of 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the national requirement by 2016.
Dr Akunzule expressed the belief that increasing local livestock and poultry production in the country was the way forward in ensuring not only self-sufficiency in meat production but also the creation of employment opportunities for the youth in poverty alleviation.
Mr Papa Kow Bartels, Director, Logistics and Value Chain, Ministry of Trade and Industry said the project would stem the current growing imports of poultry products, create employment, sustain the local poultry industry, guarantee food security, and increase supply of animal protein.
He noted that the poultry industry was a private enterprise and as such it was imperative for the Association to strategize new ways of reviving the industry.