The local poultry industry requires the support of both public and private investments to position it to meet domestic demand and consumption while also creating avenues for employment, Boris Baidoo – Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Poultry Framers Association, has said.
According to Mr. Baidoo, who is also the CEO of Boris B’s Farms, the poultry sector which currently employs over 5,000 people is capable of producing to meet the estimated 95 percent deficit of local poultry supply over a five-year period – if pragmatic measures are put in place to reinvest the over-GH¢2.4billion spent on annual poultry import.
He asked that a policy decision should be considered to reduce poultry import; and empower the local industry to cover the domestic demand through the issuing of grants and loans at a flexible interest rates to poultry farmers.
Mr. Baidoo, who was speaking in an interview with B&FT in a response to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s comments about the possibility of cutting down poultry imports if the local industry is capable of producing to meet domestic demand.
President Akufo-Addo, speaking during a visit to Akro Farms – which is under government’s ‘One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative’ at Asapare, in the Akuapim North district of the Eastern Region – acknowledged that a lot of money is spent on importing poultry products into the country, noting that this could be spent on the domestic market.
However, he observed that the local industry will have to demonstrate the ability to meet local demand in order to help reduce the importation. “We have to be sure that domestic production is up to it,” he stated.
Mr. Baidoo expressed appreciation to President Akufo-Addo for his comments, noting that it brings hope to poultry farmers; however, this can only be realized if government massively she local poultry industry.
Mr. Baidoo said the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent decision to place parts of the country on a ‘lockdown’ adversely affected the local poultry industry.
He explained that the sale of poultry products had to be halted at some point, since restrictions were placed on movement. This led to a number of products going bad. But he noted that the recent pronouncement by health authorities on the consumption of poultry products like eggs to boost the immune system is helping to turn things around.
Grants and loans
He said the GH¢500million support from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to the local poultry industry should be channeled into grants for poultry farmers to help create more jobs through the expansion of their business.
“There should be enough grants being given out of this facility that will help, and allow people to create more jobs – over 10,000 in some few months for the benefit of the economy.” He insisted that local poultry farmers are fully ready to produce so as to stop huge importation of frozen chicken into the country, if they can be backed by the issuing of loans at a flexible interest rate to farmers.