The Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) has made a passionate appeal for financial institutions to offer its members special loans that enable them to expand production and improve the marketing of local chicken.
The appeal was contained in a speech read on behalf of the association by the Ashanti Regional President of Women in Poultry Production, Ms. Evelyn Agyenim Boateng – who argued that Ghanaians could not be talking about unemployment “while we eat imported chicken to make somebody else’s market grow”.
Ms. Boateng made the appeal at the launch of the ‘Eat Ghana Chicken’ campaign in Accra. The initiative is directed toward creating a sustainable and commercially competitive poultry industry in Ghana.
She said financial constraints are hurting growth of the local poultry industry, and pleaded with the lending institutions to introduce special loans for local poultry producers with flexible payment conditions to help them expand their production.
“When we produce more, then the economies of scale set in so that the price of chicken and eggs can come down for people to afford them.
“We hope that with this campaign more companies will come on board to produce more chicken and get it everywhere for people to access it,” she said.
She further reiterated the benefits of eating locally produced poultry products, saying: “Our chicken is healthier and the taste is better”.
The initiative is part of the Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), which is being implemented under the auspices of the Ministries of Trade and Industry; Health, Food and Agriculture, and the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF).
The Ghana Poultry Project aims to increase the competitiveness of domestic production and processing of poultry meat and eggs in Ghana. It is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by ACDI/VOCA and TechnoServe.
The campaign was launched by the Director of Animal Production at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mr. Kwamina Arkorful, who encouraged Ghanaians to patronise more locally produced chicken which is noted for its good taste and relatively high dietary value.
Mr. Arkorful observed that the influence of a flourishing poultry industry is important to the national economy in terms of increasing jobs – particularly in the rural areas, and providing food for households.
He said as part of efforts to boost the performance of local poultry in the Ghanaian market, government is planning to establish poultry processing plants across the country.
The plants, when established, will help local poultry producers to process their products and make them accessible to consumers.
Ms. Carianne De Boer, Chief of Party-Ghana Poultry Project, expressed worry about lack of awareness about the importance of local poultry products…hence the campaign.
She added that the campaign will focus on increasing the competitiveness of local poultry products on the market.
“We found out that there’s not much awareness and plans for the local poultry sector. Very few people even know about the benefits of the poultry we produce in Ghana.
“We want to make sure that the Ghanaian poultry sector is able to increase its competitiveness in the market because its percentage in the market is very low,” Ms. De Boer said.
She said government is committed to improving local poultry production in the country, and added that the discussions with key stakeholders and other partners in the poultry industry are far advanced to acquire the processing facilities needed to help the local market.
“We are thinking with the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers about how to set up processing infrastructure, because as we speak you don’t know where to get local poultry products,” he observed.
She stressed that it is time for the local producers to make their products accessible, saying: “The imported chicken is processed into convenient pieces for customers.
“Poultry production is a key driver of the country’s economy, and the collective efforts of all stakeholders will help local poultry to compete with foreign ones in the market,” he said.