For nearly a decade, the poultry industry has been disadvantaged as a result of intense competition from imported chicken and the decreasing profitability of egg production.
Owing to factors such as volatility in feed supply, particularly maize, which constitute about 80 percent of production cost, poultry farmers have over the years being reiterating the dire need to find innovative ways to make local chicken competitive.
However, it is believed that with the right measures like availability of maize and soya feed at reasonable prices, local farmers could reduce cost of production by 10 percent to 15 percent.
In view of this, the USDA-Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), a five-year project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by ACDI/VOCA and Technoserve, is supporting poultry farmers to increase the competitiveness of domestic poultry products.
The project, in line with government’s Planting for Food and Jobs and Rearing for Food and Jobs initiatives, is expected to contribute to job creation and ultimately, poverty reduction in rural areas.
As part of the support, USDA has advanced a grant to M.M. Awal Enterprise, to help develop the capacity of some 3,000 out-growers to ensure consistent supply of maize and soybean feed to poultry farmers across the country.
Through the grant, it is expected that 200 contracts will be signed with poultry value chain actors like feed processors and poultry farmers to ensure the sustainability of the project.
According to Mohammed Awal, M.M. Awal’s CEO, his outfit has partnered Tradeline Consult, to train the out-growers and to raise GH2 million capital to support their development.
As part of efforts to ensure sustainability of the project, the out-growers would also enjoy some support from Village Savings and Loans Association (VLSA).
The beneficiaries would be trained in a specialized financial software that will help them be able to use technology to help them keep digitized financial information and increase their chances of accessing more funds and inputs.
Each farmer is expected to cultivate an average of two acres of maize and soya to boost the production of feed.
The company is also recruiting five extension officers to train the out-growers to produce to market specifications.
“We have a total of 2,000 acres and supports about 3,000 out-growers – each with an average of 3 acres each. We are also into mechanization services – tractor and combine harvester services, inputs, credit arrangement and extension services to smallholder farmers within the Zabzugu and Mion Districts” Mr. Awal said.
Presently, he said M.M. Awal also supplies food to about 200 second cycle institutions across the Northern, Savannah, Upper East, Upper West, North West and Bono East and Ahafo Regions through the Ghana National Buffer Stock.
He added that as part of the company’s expansion drive, “we are increasing our tractors from eight to 15 and combine harvesters from two to ten so that we can assist farmers with ploughing.”