Editorial : COVID-19 pandemic forces us to develop localised food chains

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Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Dr. John Kofi Mensah believes COVID-19 presents Ghanaians with the best opportunity to localise the entire food production value chain in the country and become less reliant on import of basics such as rice and poultry.

“This is the time to be food sufficient and change the diet patterns of Ghanaians from consumption of foreign products to high standard local ones. Agribusiness is the key backbone of any developing economy and it is time all stakeholders take the bull by the horn”.

The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) said this at the official launch of a GH¢500 million project to finance and localise the full value chain of poultry from day-old chick producers, to broiler production, feed millers, processors and distributors, by linking one chain to another.

The ‘Broiler Value Chain Financing Concept’ is one-way government is working at reducing the importation of food products such as poultry into the country to reduce the country’s high food import bill.

Ghana, annually spends more than US$1billion to import food including rice, poultry, cooking oil, and several others. Poultry alone accounts for US$300million and rice accounting for some US$400million. This is not sustainable, particularly when such products can be produced locally and boost the country’s foreign reserves.

The project, the Managing Director, added would also provide healthy and fresh proteins to Ghanaians, engender the production of maize and soya beans which are all major feed ingredients for broiler production, feed the hospitality industry when it revives after COVID-19 and help push ADB’s total loan book portfolio to GH¢4 billion by 2022.

The initiative will boost the local poultry industry which has taken a severe hit by the volumes of frozen poultry products imported into the country. Poultry farmers have been impressing on government to intervene and save the local poultry industry by slapping tariffs on imported poultry products.

We believe this intervention would signal a revitalization of the local poultry sector and we are pleased to learn it will be replicated in other regions as well.

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