Save poultry sector from collapse – GARDJA tells gov’t

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The Ghana Agricultural and Rural Development Journalists Association (GARDJA) has petitioned the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to save the poultry sector from its current predicaments.

The association is calling on authorities to address pressing issues such as unabated importation of frozen chicken, rising cost of production emanating from skyrocketing poultry feed inputs like maize, soy and wheat bran among things.

“There is no doubt that the Ghanaian poultry industry is dying and currently on artificial life support. The quantity of chicken imported into the country has since the early 2000s risen steadily, contributing more than 50 percent of local demand annually.

“As at the year 2000, Ghana imported only about 33,300 tonnes of poultry meat annually. By 2013, that figure had risen to 168,000 tonnes at a cost of over US$197million. Ghana currently spends an estimated US$380million (more than GH¢2billion) importing poultry meat every year, when about two decades ago Ghana actually exported chicken to our neighbours,” GARDJA said his in a statement signed by its president, Richmond Frimpong.

The trend of frozen chicken importation, GARDJA noted, poses a huge threat to local production in the sense that domestic poultry products end up being comparatively expensive; hence consumers opting for the imported ones from highly subsidised economies. The situation, it added, also remains a threat to sustainability of the poultry component of government’s ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs’ programme.

On June 25, 2019, government launched the ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs’ campaign with an ambitious target to invest in the poultry component of the programme as a major step to reduce the importation of chicken into the country – but very little has been achieved in that direction, it stated.

The Association has therefore proposed workable policies encompassing subsidies on poultry feed, establishment of better processing and marketing facilities, coupled with creating an enabling environment such as competitive and stable electricity supply.

“A cap should be placed on the importation of frozen chicken into the country. All wholesale importers should be given a quota to ensure they purchase at least 60 percent of the poultry they use locally and only import 40 percent. This directive should apply to poultry importers and food companies like KFC, Papaye and other major users of poultry in the country. Government should limit importation of chicken to selected entry points in the country so that such a quota can be vigorously monitored and enforced.

“There should also be increased support for value addition to the poultry sector so a lot of it is converted to nuggets, sausages, among others, for the benefit of the local market. Looking forward to working with you to improve our local poultry sector so it can create millions of jobs for the populace all over the country,” it said.

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