The local poultry industry has the protentional to create more employment for the teeming Ghanaian youth, while improving the livelihoods of farmers if all stakeholders will commit to supporting the sector, Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi, has said.
“Through the support of all stakeholders, if the needed investment is injected into the broiler industry through private and public sector partnerships, we can create a competitive and efficient poultry industry,” he said.
To this end, he charged all stakeholders to join the effort to create the change that matters in the poultry industry through the promotion of an inclusive and viable poultry meat value chain under the ‘Better Chicken for a Better Future’ project.
The ‘Better Chicken for a Better Future’ project is an initiative of Solidaridad, an international civil society organisation, and its partners.
The three-year (2021 to 2024) project seeks to create a fully functioning inclusive and integrated poultry meat value chain that provides decent jobs and better incomes for small-scale poultry farmers in Ghana.
It will focus on strengthening the poultry business by enhancing the value chain for locally raised and processed chicken.
In all, the project will be piloted in the Bekwai Municipalilty, Bosomtwe, Atwima Kwanwoma and the Amansie West and Central Districts of the Ashanti Region, and is expected to empower 500 farmers with access to quality but competitive day-old chicks, feed and hygiene products.
This will be achieved through the operation of the project’s breeder farm, hatchery and feed mill.
Farmers will also benefit from training on best husbandry practices, farm management, agribusiness development, financial management and life skills, among others.
This is aimed at addressing the challenges that are crippling the poultry industry, such as skyrocketing feed prices, lack of quality inputs such as day-old chicks due to poor quality local hatcheries and vaccines, abuse of antibiotics and poor linkages between input suppliers and marketers.
Others include limited processing and cold chain facilities, high cost of local poultry production, inability to meet consumer preferences, and competition from imported poultry products.
The national demand for poultry meat is about 400,000 metric tonnes, with local production meeting only 14 percent of it. The importation of frozen chicken accounts for 45 percent, with the remainder recorded as the shortfall. Over the last decades, the share of imports in the domestic consumption of poultry meat has increased enormously.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Kumasi, Mr. Gyamfi said: “Reducing the dependency on imports, and creating jobs in the Ghanaian poultry sector to improve self-sufficiency is critical to national development.
He noted that a campaign is being championed by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Rearing for Food and Jobs policy.
“Solidaridad’s long-standing experience in increasing access to finance to smallholder farmers through our Village Savings and Loans Association scheme, coupled with our existing partnerships with key financial institutions in the country will ensure that access to formal financial services is not a barrier for beneficiary farmers to produce sustainably,” he stated.
The project is being supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and aligns with the policies of the Dutch government and embassy, which is looking at developing a long-term competitive poultry sector.
Ag. Policy Officer, at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Abdul Rahaman Abdulai, said Ghana’s poultry sector is an important and strategic industry, and the embassy will continue to provide the needed support through its agribusiness unit.
“Although being implemented on a relatively small scale, our goal is to establish a vertical system within the poultry business that promotes the integration of actors rather than independent business entities that have weak relationships with other industry actors,” he said.
The project is being implemented by a seven-member consortium — IGrowChicken, Hendrix Genetics, Schippers Export B.V, Transnational Agri, and Nutreco Africa, with Solidaridad West Africa and AgriDEPOT as local implementing partners.
Some of the stakeholders at the launching of ‘Better Chicken for a Better Future’ project in Kumasi. Insert: Regional Director of Solidaridad West Africa, Isaac Kwadwo Gyamfi.