The Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah, has said he believes with the bank’s commitment Ghana will become self-sufficient in poultry production by 2022.
Speaking at a poultry value chain stakeholders’ meeting, where a loan facility of GH¢23.2million was presented to six players in the poultry value chain, Dr. Mensah believes now is the time to embark on aggressive import substitution, protect the local currency and promote sustainable jobs in the agriculture sector.
“We believe that within two years we will no longer import chicken into this country, and our poultry farmers can feed us without help from outside. We have all the resources as a nation to be self-sufficient in poultry production, but we have not taken the bull by the horns to do so,” he said at the meeting in Accra yesterday.
“We see ourselves as an agricultural value chain financier to take the lead. With what we are doing, it is our hope that other financial institutions will join because it is national in scope. Agriculture financing is termed risky, but with a product like this – that has all the end-to-end structures and institutionalised mechanisms – you de-risk the sector completely,” he added.
The first phase in the Bono Region will see ADB extend cheaper loans to hatcheries: which will allow supply of quality day-old-chicks to the participating farmers; feed-millers to produce quality feed to grow birds to 2kg in six weeks; maize and soya producers; broiler producers so that enough birds are available for harvesting by the processing plant; and processing plants, to serve as the main determinant of birds to be placed on farms linked to the project in any location.
The project, expected to be replicated in six other regions of the country within 12 months, is being coordinated in partnership with the ministries of finance, and food and agriculture; and the Outgrower and Value Chain Fund (OVCF) and Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending Project (GIRSAL).
Ghana has consistently imported chicken. In 2018, total imports stood at 511,960 broiler day-old chicks and 7.1million layer day-old chicks. According to Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Ghana imports 240,000mt of meat – that is chicken, beef and others to make up for its meat deficit, costing the country over US$375million annually.
In the 2019 budget presentation, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, confirmed that the country spends US$374million to import poultry meat every year – which puts enormous pressure on the limited forex expected to be used for the importation of essential goods and services, and negatively impacts the foreign exchange rates.
Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Emmanuel Asante–Krobea, lauded the bank’s move to support the poultry industry. He urged other banks to emulate ADB’s move and support the country’s growing agric sector.
“ADB coming on board to finance the poultry value chain solves about 90% of government’s problems. Since government launched Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), ADB has been with us,” he said.
Takyi Sraha, Senior Agribusiness Specialist at the Ghana Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending Project (GIRSAL), explained that the GIRSAL was established in July 2019 with funding from the Bank of Ghana, and provides comfort for the banking sector to lend to agriculture.
“Our main focus is to help increase lending to agriculture by using our guarantee scheme which reduces interest rates and NPLs within the financial sector. We are working with ADB to finance a number of agric value chains. This collaboration is very important, because poultry is a game-changer in the sector. We want to pledge our support to ADB and others to ensure this programme is successful via our de-risking instrument,” he added.