Chairman of the Northern Poultry Farmers Association, George Dassah, has bemoaned what he describes as the lack of political will by successive governments to provide comprehensive solutions to the issues affecting the industry.
According to him, despite well-documented proposals on reviving the ailing sub-sector, there is very little to show for it by way of measurable results.
“Over the years, successive governments have not given the industry the needed attention it deserves. We have political parties only talking about it when they are in opposition. The moment they attain power, they deliberately forget about it, and those in opposition take over and supposedly begin to champion the course of the industry.
They talk about the poultry industry as if it is their ‘beloved son’. After eight years when they also take the reins of power, the opposition assumes that position of talking for the industry again, it is indeed a dilemma,” he said in an interview with the B&FT.
Beyond the lack of political will, he added, the high cost of credit, high cost of inputs, unbridled importation of frozen chicken due to trade liberalisation, the incidence of some poultry diseases like the bird flu, remain some of the major factors hampering the growth and development of the poultry sector in Ghana.
For the poultry industry to thrive and contribute meaningfully to the socio-economic development of the country, members of the poultry fraternity are urging the government to come out with a policy framework that will safeguard the industry and also ensure that it receives subsidies as is the case in other jurisdictions like the United States and the European Union.
Also, the industry players appealed to government to ensure a reduction of the cost of credit for the industry as well take steps to reduce importation of frozen chicken which is a big challenge especially for local broiler farmers, he said.
“As a country, we stand to grow if the government does its part while the private sector also plays its part, we will have improved health status as a result of consuming the locally produced broiler chicken,” he explained.
The chairman noted that more jobs would be created in the country, rather than creating it in countries where frozen poultry products are imported from, if government could extend support to the sector.
He added that as a result of the reduction in importation, government would be able to generate some revenue from the contributions of the local poultry sector to embark on other developmental projects and also retain much of the foreign exchange that will automatically strengthen the Ghana cedi.
He said this will, in turn, reduce the crime rate because some of the youth will be gainfully engaged and busy in the various sectors of the industry.
“I dare say, and I believe my fellow poultry farmers will agree with me that any political party that will vigorously pursue and implement policies that will grow the poultry industry in Ghana is our party and is sure to get our votes.
To our leaders, if you have this country Ghana at heart, do not be readers alone, but be doers of the word,” he said.
He further expressed worry over the many poultry structures that lay idle because farms have folded up due to high costs of input.