The country’s poultry import bill is said to be around GH¢200million. Ghana imports substantial poultry while local poultry farmers struggle to cope with the high cost of feed, among other inputs.
This impediment should be removed with government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
Last year, maize, rice, soybean, sorghum and vegetables including tomato, onion and pepper, were the five main crops for concentration.
Maize and the soybeans were meant to go into the poultry industry to reduce the cost of production for poultry, and ultimately reduce the huge amount of frozen poultry products coming into the country. However, in spite of the above, poultry farmers say they are yet to benefit from the policy.
Napoleon Agyeman Oduro, of the Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana, recently criticised government for failing to make the main ingredients for production of poultry feed accessible.
This concern needs to come to the attention of the ministry, which needs to offer poultry farmers an explanation as to why the soybean and maize were not made available to the poultry sub-sector as promised.
This comes at a time when the Director of the Animal Research Institute, Professor Adu, is asking government to invest a portion of the country’s annual import bill of US$200million into livestock and livestock production. He believes the sector has the potential to create jobs faster than crop production.
Thus, in a bid to make agriculture the economy’s driver, livestock production cannot be left out of the equation – since Ghanaians’ requirement for protein is hinged on livestock production with the rest supplied by imports.
Government plans to allocate some GH¢1billion to the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFAJ) programme this year. This represents an increase of about 80 percent over the GH¢560million that was budgeted for the programme’s first phase.
We urge government make a substantial part of this money available for improving the lot of the poultry and livestock sub-sectors of the agriculture industry.