The Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) have renewed calls for a 40 per cent broiler import substitution policy to boost local poultry production in the country.
The call comes two years after the launch of the Ghana Broiler Revitalisation Project (GHABROP) aimed at boosting local capacity in the production, processing and marketing of broiler chicken in the once vibrant poultry production industry.
The Vice Chairman of the GNAPF, Mr Napoleon Agyemang Oduro, in an interview with the Daily Graphic stated that: “Since the launch of the project, we have not seen any change in the poultry industry”.
This, he attributed to the absence of a 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 mandates importers to have 40 per cent of their poultry products from farmers in the country.
That, according him, was just a 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 to, as a matter of urgency, formulate the broiler revitalisation legal policy document to catapult the growth of the country’s poultry industry.
Mr Oduro explained that the absence of the legal framework was derailing efforts of the association to start working towards the national objective for the 40 per cent broiler import substitution.
This, he said, was 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 not supporting
The Vice Chairman of the GNAPF disclosed that some banks in the country were reluctant to support poultry farmers with loans due to the lack of a documented policy of the project.
“As you know, we need financial institutions’ support to enable us to revamp 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, in an interview, appealed to the members of the GNAPF to come out with projects to attract funding from commercial banks.
He supported the argument that poultry farming was a private-led enterprise but called on the poultry growers to embrace new innovations and technologies to turn the industry around.
The GHABROP, when supported well by all the stakeholders, according 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 played their roles to ensure self sufficiency.
The target of the project is to produce 30,000 tonnes of broiler meat with an expected increase to 60,000 tonnes by the end of the year.
Currently, the local poultry industry players produce five per cent of chicken for the country’s chicken needs while 95 per cent of the chicken consumed in the country is imported.
It is for this reason that the Business Advocacy Challenge Fund (BUSAC Fund) supports the local poultry industry to push for a policy that will sustain the livelihoods of the farmers.
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 increased 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 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 per cent cheaper than the locally produced chicken.