The Agricultural Development Bank’s (ADB) loan facility of GH¢23.2million presented to six players in the poultry value chain is geared towards the revival of the ailing poultry industry in the country.
Poultry farmers have long faced crippling competition from their counterparts in developed countries as the country imports around US$200 million worth of chicken every year. Poultry imports subsidized by the EU, for example, are ruining the market for African farmers.
That is why it makes exciting reading that the Managing Director of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah believes with the bank’s commitment, Ghana will become self-sufficient in poultry production by 2022.
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. ADB, an agricultural value chain financier, should be at the fore-front of empowering the country’s agricultural sector to be competitive and viable.
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).
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$375 million 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.
This is not sustainable and a waste of scarce foreign exchange, particularly when Ghanaians equally have the capacity to produce poultry locally and create jobs in the process. Since the industry is quite capital intensive, access to credit is what is required to boost the local industry.
That is why the Paper is excited that the ADB is living up to its mandate and providing the needed capital assistance to the country’s ailing poultry sector. Like Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Emmanuel Asante-Krobea indicated that the bank’s move solves about 90% of government’s problems.
The move will improve the country’s protein requirements since stunting under the age of five in rife in our jurisdiction.