FAW invasion spikes cost of maize feed for poultry industry

While government has pared down the extent of havoc caused by the Fall Armyworm (FAW) invasion across several farming communities last year, the pests have left in their wake a hike in the price of maize.

Maize, a staple food for millions of Ghanaians, was one of the major grain crops affected by the worm in six out of the ten regions of the country – leaving several hectares of farms with little to take home as harvest.

One of the sectors feeling the pinch from the poor maize yield is the poultry industry – a sector that was already suffocating under high cost of feed. This has over the years made the domestic poultry industry uncompetitive, since feed alone accounts for up to 60 percent of production cost.

Apart from being a staple food for most Ghanaians, maize also constitutes a major feed for the poultry industry.

Following the poor harvest recorded in the last farming season as a result of the devastating effects of the pest, Ghanaians who prefer local chicken to imported ones may have to pay more to continue consuming their favourite in the coming months, as farmers are likely to increase their prices so as to make up for increasing cost of production.

“The Fall Armyworm brought low yields, and the little that was produced has been bought by government institutions to feed the National Food Buffer Stock Company. This has made the cost of maize in the system very expensive as compared to the previous year,” said Alhaji Issah Buckman, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers.

Mr. Buckman, who disclosed this to the B&FT in Sunyani during the launch of the second edition of the Poultry Value Chain Fair, added that members of his outfit are seriously distressed by the development as it could further affect competitiveness of the domestic poultry sector.

Last year, for instance, a 50-kilogramme bag of maize sold at GH¢50, but this time round the same weight is going for between GH¢65 and GH¢67.

“We had very high hopes for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ to cushion us, but that has not been the case; the implementation had a lot of problems,” he bemoaned.

The high cost of feed/production, coupled with importation of cheap chicken, poses a threat to an industry that has the capacity to create thousands of jobs and contribute to national development, Mr. Buckman said.

“I believe that the poultry industry can be one of the largest industries in the country behind oil, if we can put the right measures in place. It is a fast-moving consumable; it is consumed everywhere in the country.

“All we need now is to understand that the poultry value chain is huge –  the maize grower, the soya grower, among many others, have a stake in it. It is a big industry with a very bright future if government and all stakeholders can come together to develop it,” he added.

Launch of 2nd Poultry Value Chain Fair

The 2nd edition of the Poultry Value Chain Fair (PCVF) will be held in the Brong Ahafo Regional capital of Sunyani, from March 21 to 22, 2018.

The event will be on the theme ‘Employment creation along the poultry value chain: the public private partnership approach’.

The fair is an initiative of the Ghana Poultry Project (GPP) – a five-year project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food for Progress Programme (FFP) – and is implemented by ACDI/VOCA and TechnoServe.

The goal is to increase competitiveness of the local poultry sector in the production and processing of poultry, meat and eggs.

It seeks to, among other things, create sustainable market linkages between the poultry value chain actors at both supply and demand ends, as well as provide poultry farmers with access to relatively cheaper/quality sources of inputs.

This year’s fair is being organised by GPP, Assist Management in Poultry Layer Industry by Feed Improvement and Efficiency Strategy (AMPLIFIES), Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), and Agrihouse Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.