Agriculture stakeholders impressed with industry’s push for innovation

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Animal production is an important part of Ghana’s agriculture economy. Both ruminants and non-ruminants are reared in Ghana. Ruminants usually reared in Ghana are cattle, goats and sheep, while the non-ruminants reared are pigs and poultry (domestic fowl, guinea fowl and ducks).

Traditional animal production such as rabbits, grasscutters, bees, snail and fish farming are also gaining much importance. Animal production in Ghana is done under three main systems, that is, the intensive, semi-intensive and extensive systems.

The intensive system is mainly practiced by commercial farmers while the extensive system is normally practiced in rural communities. Animals are normally slaughtered by individuals in their homes, by individuals or authorized persons in slaughter slabs owned by the community/government and by authorized persons in slaughterhouses/abattoirs owned by the government.

In many rural communities in the three Northern Regions of Ghana, livestock production is a major source of livelihood especially doing the dry season. The 3 Northern Regions of Ghana accounts for about 75% of all cattle produced in Ghana.

Ghana imports animals (mainly ruminants) from neighboring countries. Processed meats and meat products are mainly imported from Europe and America. Importation of live animals and meats give an enormous indication that, there are great potentials for increase animal production, with readily available market.

Public and Private Sector Interventions

Rearing for Food and Jobs

In June 2019, the Government of Ghana, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, launched the Rearing for Food and Jobs program in the Upper West Region, to address the country’s deficit in meat production. The program seeks to develop a competitive and more efficient livestock industry that increases domestic production, reduces importation of livestock products anc contributes to employment generation and to the improvement of livelihoods of livestock value actors and the national economy.

Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow

In the private sector, Agrihouse Foundation launched the Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries Trade Show (LiPF) in 2019, to close the gap that existed between the livestock and crop sectors in the Ghanaian agricultural industry; to ensure that growth in all facets of the agriculture sector is in tandem, receiving equal attention and resources as they all deserve.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock production contribute about 40% of the global value of agricultural output and support the livelihoods and food and nutrition security of almost 1.3billion people in the world. In Ghana, the livestock sector contributes an average of 7% to the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

The event therefore creates that missing platform where livestock, poultry and fisheries farmers can share experiences and have their common concerns addressed. The LiPF initiative showcases and promotes the livestock, poultry and fisheries production value chain and job opportunities through exhibitions. It also offers training programmes in Animal production and best practices to interested persons.

The LiPF tradeshow showcases an all-day exhibition which runs alongside practical training sessions. Companies and organizations exhibit their products and services at the tradeshow through live demonstrations, video and audio presentations. The training is organised in small groups usually 15-20 participants. Different classes are run for interested participants. Classes include, poultry, piggery, snail, mushroom, cattle, rabbit rearing, among others. These classes run concurrently but are repeated so those who opt for multiple sessions are not left out.

2019 and 2020 Editions of LiPF

The maiden edition of the Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries tradeshow was held in July 2019, at the Accra International Conference Center, alongside the 7th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA). The event had in attendance about one thousand participants from Ghana and other countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, among others, and over 40 Exhibitors throughout the three (3) day event. Exhibitors included livestock, poultry and fisheries-based companies like Jubaili, Ghana Poultry Project, Agricare, Tilly farms, Big Stars. At the end of the event, participants shared their joy at the initiative and appreciated the fact that it came at a time when the government was striving for a Ghana beyond aid. It also came at a time when the government was championing the Rearing for Food and Jobs initiative. It allowed a lot of these livestock, poultry and fisheries show how much impact they make in the development of the agriculture sector and also encourage their input in the sector.

image of women in the field

The second edition of LiPF was held at the Efua Sutherland Children’s park in September last year, with about 785 participants in attendance over the two days. The second edition focused on training sessions in animal agriculture equipping participants to step up their ideas and interest in going into animal agriculture. The training equipped participants with basic and intermediary knowledge required for poultry, piggery, snail production, mushroom production, cattle rearing, small ruminants (sheep, goats, rabbit) rearing.

Since the first edition, Agrihouse Foundation, through LiPF has built organic data over the years and has engaged over 50,000 sub holder farmers with a significant percentage of them expressing interest in animal agriculture. The high numbers recorded and interest expressed by participants necessitated an urgent need to add and build on the training component of the event.

Furthermore, analysis of the feedback received from the first edition of LiPF revealed 87% of participants wanted training in starting a poultry, piggery, rabbit, cattle, and piggery farm; 90% were of the view that a platform like LiPF was a perfect one to offer introductory training. This led to the introduction of more training sessions during the second edition of the event.

Impact of COVID-19 on Animal Production in Ghana

Effects on Food Supply and Demand: the first two cases of COVID-19 recorded in Ghana on March 12, 2020. On March 30, 2020, there was an imposition of partial lockdown in some parts of the country for 2 weeks as the virus began to spread. Decongestion and some market closures led to shortages of some feed ingredients for formulating livestock feeds, including maize, wheat, soybean, and fishmeal, resulting in price increases of these commodities. Livestock trade mainly from the Sahel regions of West Africa into Ghana has been severely affected as a result of the closure of the land borders.

Effects on the Food Supply Chain: travel bans affected the importation of food into the country, as well as the transportation of farm produce from food-producing areas within the country to market centers. Also, decongestion and closure of some market centers to enforce social distancing among traders reduced food supplies leading to a hike in food prices in most urban markets across the country, especially during the early days of the lockdown.

Effect on Input Supply: Ghana imports most agricultural inputs from other parts of the world. COVID-19 prevention protocols have reduced access to inputs and services for animal breeding and production. Movement restrictions and disruption of national and international trade routes curbed farmer access to breeding materials and replacement stocks. Most agricultural inputs are now more expensive to import due to the closure of borders and restricted to commercial flights.

Effect on Animal Breeding Activities: the pandemic also resulted in an interruption of breeding programs. The movement restrictions and possible infection of the workforce resulted in a shortage of labor. Pastoral practices faced challenges with regards to feeding and, hence, halted breeding programs as they may have not been able to provide concentrate feed as required for an intensive system of production. Workers call in sick, while others also avoid work for safety reasons, and all these disrupt program timelines.

Effect on Capacity Building: Capacity building programs on animal breeding in Ghana, including sharing of information from research to stakeholders, education on the National Strategic Action Plan on Animal Genetic Resources, and training of field extension personnel have either been put on hold or restricted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, various stakeholders for animal production have been rescheduled their activities indefinitely. However, such platforms provide an opportunity for researchers, industry players, farmers, and students in animal agriculture to discuss current issues germane to animal agriculture and share ideas on lessons learned and best practices.

3rd LiPF Tradeshow— Resilience and sustainability amidst the Pandemic.

Last week Tuesday, Agrihouse Foundation launched the 3rd edition of its annual Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow, on the theme, “WE MOVE! W0N YAA”

The highly successful event which was held at Nungua Farms in Accra, was graced by prominent stakeholders in the agricultural sector, whose vision of seeing an improved and well-structured animal agric production sector aligns with that of Agrihouse Foundation. The included, the Chief of Party of the United States Dapartment of Agriculture (USDA) Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), Madam Carianne de Boer; Unit Head of Business & Sales at Agricultural Development Bank, (ADB) Mr. Mohammed Ali; Deputy Director of Animal Production Directorate, Madam Mavis Afutu; Director at the Fisheries Commission, Mr. Matthew Cofie Oyih; Head of Research at National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG), Mr. Dennis K. Addo; Coordinator of Ghana National Egg Campaign Secretariat (GNECS), Madam Comfort Kyerewa Acheampong; National Chairman of Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers, Imam Hanafi Sonde; Assistant Business Advisor of National Board for Small Scale Industries, Mr. Isaac Asamoah; Public Relations officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Mr. Kester Mensah.

This year, LiPF seeks inform and educate participants about alternative means to create jobs and make additional income, especially, in the animal agricultural sector, since many people in the country now have lost their jobs as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, “LifP is a relevant intervention and it is now more relevant as it seeks to build resilience and confidence in individuals who have lost their source of income and are looking for alternate means in these times. It is also here to encourage people who are passionate and interested in the animal agricultural sector, to let them see the multiple opportunities they can take advantage of. Even with government and private sector interventions, the animal agricultural sector still has several areas of opportunities that have not been tapped into. These are the areas we are aiming to highlight this year,” the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa noted in a press release.

The main event, she said, would be a two-day training and exhibition tradeshow, slated for Friday, May 21 – Saturday, May 22, in partnership with the United State Department of Agriculture (UNDA) – Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winner’s Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG).

In an opening remark at the launch, the Farm Manager of Nungua Farms, Madam Amen Arose Ghartey, said a project like LiPF is a shared mission of promoting and sustaining the poultry and livestock production for employment, income generation, food security through research, technical backstopping, and capacity building. She noted that, in a time when COVID-19 is impacting majority of Ghanaians negatively, Nungua Farmers was glad to host the launch of LiPF, in support of an innovative project, “the farm is mandated to produce and supply elite and parent stock of pigs, rabbits, and grasscutter to farmers. We provide capacity building for farmers, students, extension workers in the poultry, piggery, grasscutter, and rabbitry. Furthermore, we have a small feedmill that supports farmers in the catchment area in formulation and preparation of their feed”, she added.

For her part, the Chief of Party of United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), Madam Carianne de Boer, noted this year’s theme for the ‘Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow’ (LiPF), ignites hopes and captures the aspirations of the agri-youth, men and women, in a time of COVID-19, when everybody is reaching for hope and looking forwards to better living conditions.

She said as economies open up again, LiPF is certainly one interventional plaform that offers new opportunities for the agri-youth, men and women. The Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries industry, she said, undoubtedly, can play a key role in preventing people from falling into poverty, and therefore deserved the needed attention to thrive, “Farmers alone must not be left alone to face the challenges of the industry. When we move, we move together— policy makers, financial institutions, investors, and even consumers. We all must play a part in developing a sustainable animal agricultural sector,” she stressed.

She urged Agrihouse Foundation to engage animal farmers and processors who will be participating in the upcoming 3rd ‘Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow,’ (LiPF) on issues surrounding the African Continental Free Trade agreement. She said such discussions will educate and inform small-scale and commercial agricultural ventures, producers and customers of animal agriculture, on how to better position themselves to take full advantage of opportunities the agreement has to offer, “The African Continental Free Trade Area is here now. It is good news, but serious questions arise for our sector as agricultural stakeholders. Potential gains from this trade agreement will not necessarily affect all countries and sectors in the same way,” she stressed.

She used the occasion to commend Agrihouse Foundation for successfully sustaining LiPF, now in its third year, by bringing together small-scale animal farmers, processors and all others within the value chain, and providing them with education, training and platforms to exhibit their products and services.  She duly launched the 3rd Edition of the Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow.

For his part, the Unit Head of Business & Sales at Agricultural Development Bank, (ADB) Mr. Mohammed Ali, praised Agrihouse Foundation for creating an interventional platform like LiPF that educates farmers and agri-startups on things they need to know and do, to help them qualify for bank support and facilities, especially, in these times of COVID-19, where people have lost livelihoods and looking for new opportunities.

He said, quite unfortunately most people in the agric sector who walk into (ADB) with hopes of accessing bank loans, in most cases, do not have basic knowledge about the type of support they seek; the requirements and benchmarks.

He said ADB is particularly interested in LiPF because, the intervention is practical, bringing together small-scale animal farmers, processors and all others within the value chain, and providing them with financial education, training and platforms to exhibit their products and services.

ADB, he noted, is therefore committed to supporting the project continue to expand and reach more groups and individuals across the country who are passionate about agricultural projects, “ADB has been a loyal partner to Agrihouse foundation, and in particular, for the past three years when the LIFP was launched; we have been part of the partners of this important project from the very beginning” he stressed.

He said ADB has gone through a lot of transformation in order to make sure that it continues to expand its services, products and offers to ensure it is increasing funding towards projects focused on the country’s agricultural sector. The Bank, he noted, has found the need to expand the agric financing department to what is now called the, ‘agric business division,’ aimed at ensuring that the entire agric value chain is catered to through technical and financial supports.

“At the various branches of ADB, a desk is established, called the agric desk, to ensure that players within the agric sector can easily walk into any ADB branch, to the agric desk and make enquiries, to find out how best you can access fund,” he said.

ADB, he reiterated, is committed to supporting any project that is aimed promoting agri-businesses, “If you are interested in having any form of collaboration or seeking funding, do not hesitate to get in touch with any of our branches; we should be able to provide advisory services or better the financing of your project” he noted.

The Deputy Director of Animal Production Directorate, Madam Mavis Afutu, in her speech, described the ‘Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow’ as a step in the right direction, as project continues to promote the poultry, livestock and fisheries value chain and its agribusiness potentials.

She said LiPF is a strong complement to the work the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture are doing in the area of Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), which seeks to develop a more competitive and efficient livestock industry.

She used the opportunity to encourage all animal farmers, processors, agri-businesses and startups that will be at the Tradeshow to effectively take advantage of the activities and trainings, in order to expand their businesses and services.

A Director at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) and the Fisheries Commission (FC), Mr. Matthew Cofie Oyih, has urged fishers and aquaculture operators to take advantage of the Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow, to network with other producers, prospective customers, service providers and other firms and promote their products.

He said the Fisheries sector employs about 10% of the Ghanaian population, being the major source of livelihood for coastal communities in the country; noting that, the total fish production for 2019 was 471,794mt.

The fisheries sector, he however noted, faces challenges including illegal fishing and the declining of fishery resources from the marine sub-sector; disease and high cost of inputs, especially feed, for the aquaculture sub-sector, “These affect production efficiency,” he stressed.

Touching on how COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the fisheries sector, Mr. Cofie Oyih said, closure of the Entertainment and Tourism sectors, also resulted in a decrease in demand for fish with a sharp drop in prices, resulting in huge loses in investments.

“Fear and panic surrounding COVID-19 negatively influenced fish production decisions, leading to reduced investment in fisheries and aquaculture; decrease in fish and fishery products and loss of some livelihood opportunities,” he outlined.

In spite of these challenges created by the pandemic, he noted, some traders have taken advantage of innovative avenues such as social media platforms and house to house delivery services to improve their product distributions.

Head of Research at the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners Association (NFFAWAG), Mr. Dennis K. Addo, said the Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries sector is a major part of the agricultural sector, and commended Agrihouse for the LiPF Tradeshow, using it as medium to support animal farmers in the country.

Activities Outline for Main Event

Day 1— The Opening Event would be followed by various training sessions in Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries. The Exhibitions ground would also be opened for business, where exhibitors will advertise their ware and products.

Day 2— as part of training sessions, participants will be engaged by industry experts on Poultry management and production, participants would get to ask questions and get answers, there would also be a Fisheries and Aquaculture Training Session, where fish farmers would be advised and trained on the best types of fish to grow for the Ghanaian market, management options, feed and distribution options. The exhibitions would be held concurrently with the event. There would be a Break-out business Session (Piggery, cattle, rabbit, fish, grass-cutters, and poultry) where farmer groups would be split into different groups with a mentor for each group to encourage one-on-one communication and advice from experts to livestock farmers and those who want to venture into the business, with exhibitions going on at the same time.

Agrihouse Foundation will therefore use this medium to call on all animal agricultural farmers, processors and agribusinesses to register towards the Livestock, Poultry, Fisheries Training Tradeshow, to come off in May. Registration links, whether as an Exhibitor or Participant, are accessible on all social media pages of Agrihouse Foundation. Be a part of LiPF, to build resilience in these times as animal agric farmer, for a a sustainable future.

SOURCEthebftonline.com
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