Maize production plays a crucial role in the growth of Ghana’s poultry industry, Mr Victor Oppong Adjei, President of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), has said.
He said maize played a fundamental role in the nation’s socioeconomic development as it served as a raw material for poultry production and as a food for human; declaring that; “It is, therefore, necessary to increase maize production since other aspects of the value chain derive great benefits”.
According to a study on the poultry feed sector in Ghana by the International Food Policy Research Institute, maize accounted for 60 per cent of poultry feed, its availability and price have important implications for the profitability and growth potential of feed.
Speaking at two-day Maize Value Chain Workshop at the University of Ghana, Mr Oppong Adjei said low production of maize in the country associated with its post-harvest losses impacted negatively on the poultry industry.
The workshop dubbed “Private-Public Partnership for the Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production for the Crop’s Value Chain” was organised by the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) of the University of Ghana.
It was attended by over 70 participants, drawn from researchers, governmental and non-governmental organisations, farmers, farmer groups, market women as well as manufacturers of agricultural products and equipment.
Key issues to be discussed include maize production, processing, transportation, storage and marketing.
Mr Oppong Adjei said: “The importance of maize for the poultry industry cannot be overemphasized. It is a dependent ingredient because of the good energy source, digestibility and readily available.”
He cited that every 8000 layers consume one ton of feed daily (125g per bird), maize component per ton is 550kg or 55 per cent of the inputs.
“If 10 million birds are presumably in the country now, maize component of 250,000 metric tons would be required every year. In the case of broiler 4kg of feed is consumed to acquire a live weight of between 1.8/2.0 kg at six weeks and maize constitutes 68 per cent of the feed,” he explained.
“A demand of 5.5million metric tons of maize awaits for maize farmers if a critical attention is given to the poultry industry for economic drive. So maize is indispensable for our industry.”
Mr Oppong Adjei said factors such as low yields due to old farming methodology used in maize production were also hampering the growth of the poultry industry in the country.
“We need to introduce modern technology to enhance yields per hectare, which will record a maximum of two metric tonnes per hectare as being done in some countries.”
He said aside rain fed agriculture, there was the need to promote irrigation farming into order to increase maize production in the country.
Mr Oppong Adjei cited unstable pricing of maize, procurement of maize by middlemen or maize merchants who turn to sell at exorbitant prices and poultry farmers’ inability to access loan facility to purchase large quantities during the major season as some of the challenges maize farmers’ faced.