Poultry Farmers Demand Plans To Revamp Industry

Poultry farmers in the country are calling on all political parties to unveil their plans to revamp the ailing poultry industry ahead of the December 7 general election.

They have subsequently written to all the 25 registered political parties to make their manifestoes on the industry available in order to give voters a full grasp of their plans and policy proposals to revive the poultry sector.

“The failure of these parties to make their plans for the industry known to the electorate about three month to the elections is worrying,” the Vice Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), Mr Napoleon Oduro, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in Accra.

He said it was crucial for the electorate to thoroughly scrutinise the plans or manifestoes of the political parties before deciding on whom to vote for.

“The political parties must tell us what they want to do for the ailing poultry industry so that when a particular political party assumes office, we the farmers can demand for what they promised,” he added.

Currently, Ghana’s poultry sector is facing challenges, especially after the bird flu outbreak last year. The unbridled trade liberalisation that allows the importation of chicken products to compete with the local ones is also affecting the ailing industry.

Apart from Nigeria that has placed a ban on the importation of poultry products, restriction on chicken products across the continent is mainly to curtail the spread of disease instead of protecting local industries.

It is quite obvious the challenges will not be addressed if market forces continue to dictate the direction of the poultry industry in Ghana. The policy makers must, therefore, intervene to regulate the activities to boost local production and consumption.

In 2015, for instance, poultry farmers across the country recorded their worst sales ever in the industry.

They made less than 35 per cent sale of poultry products, according a nationwide survey by GNAPF.

The Chairman of the association, Mr Victor Oppong Adjei, said the poor sales were attributed to imported poultry products, which were 50 per cent to 60 per cent cheaper than locally produced chicken.

It is estimated that Ghana spends about US$800 million annually on rice, chicken and poultry products imports, a trend which has been attributed to the depreciation of the local currency against the major foreign currencies over the years.

Mr Adjei called on the government to implement a proposed poultry and livestock import policy to boost local production of birds, saying the policy will also increase sales of local birds and reduce the high importation of chicken and other poultry products.

The policy proposal was initiated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in the first quarter of 2014 to allow importers to bring into the country only 100 tonnes each of poultry and livestock products every three months.

Globally, the poultry industry continues to contribute to the world economy in various ways.

In developed economies, it enhances their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) profiles and provides high revenue from exports, whereas in developing economies it provides a source of livelihood and protein for food.

In Ghana, the demand for poultry products as a source of protein has increased steadily over the last three decades and will continue over the next 30 years.

This demand is partly due to significant factors such as increase in urban population growth rates, increasing average per capita income of urban dwellers leading to better purchasing power and increasing per capita meat consumption triggered by a shift in eating patterns from home cooking to fast foods that have chicken almost always as the meat of choice.

Most eateries in the Greater Accra also find chicken as the most convenient and affordable meat of choice for preparing both continental and local dishes.

The United Nations (UN) population prospects (medium variant) corroborates the influence of these factors on demand for poultry meat, in that it projects a global population growth rate of 34 per cent to increase the world’s population to 9.1 billion by 2050 with a significant increase in absolute growth projected at 120 per cent.

This is to take place in urban areas of developing countries, thereby increasing the world’s urban populations to over 70 per cent of the world’s population by 2050. This is predicted to occur with income levels rising to many multiples of what currently pertains today.

In the same period, UN population prospects projects global per capita meat consumption to rise from 41kg to 52kg with a corresponding rise from an average of 30kg to 44kg for that of developing countries.

Thus Ghana should be poised to implement favourable policies that will take advantage of these factors to improve on the local poultry industry’s market share, majority of its farmers have small and medium scale farms.

Other factors that influence the development of the poultry industry include technical knowledge, as science and technology evolves, availability of natural resources including water and solar energy as well as the management of trade barriers.

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