Business News of 2013-12-03

Poultry farmers to benefit from GH¢10m loan

The Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana (PFAG) are to benefit from a GH¢10 million loan facility from the government next year.

The initiative, which is being championed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) through the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) is part of efforts aimed at raising production of birds while reducing its import.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, disclosed this at a Budget Forum in Accra on November 29.

The three-day event was organised by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Information to help analyse key policy statements announced in the 2014 budget.

It brought together parliamentarians, civil society organisations (CSOs), members of IFEJ, which is a grouping of business, financial and economic journalists, and the general public to discuss next year’s budget.

Speaking on the need to support key sectors of the economy to thrive, Mr Iddirsu, who is also the MP for Tamale South, said government had realised the strategic importance of the poultry business to the country and had resolved to initiate policy directives that would help it to grow.

One such policy, he said was a request for a GHC10 million loan facility from the EDAIF to members of the PFAG.

“Indeed, I have already forwarded a strong recommendation to EDAIF to raise up to GH¢10 million for the Poultry Farmers Association,” the minister said at the function.

Although consumption of bird has more-than quadrupled since 2002, the domestic poultry production continued to decline and currently supplies are about 10 per cent of the country’s total demand, a recent report by the Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) on the poultry sector in the country said.

It added that imports of the bird and its related products were estimated to rise to 165,000 metric tonnes in 2013 from the 157,000 metric tonnes recorded last year.

The Trade and Industry Minister said government viewed this as an unhealthy development for the economy and the poultry farmers in particular.

“We have had discussions with some of the key farmers on how government will make interventions to support those of them in that industry as a way of strengthening our import substituting regime in that sector,” Ho Haruna said.

Beyond the financial support to the farmers, Mr Haruna said the government was also looking at how to boost growth in related areas such as feed production and processing of the birds into the finished products.

The President of the National Farmers and Fishermen Award Winners of Ghana, Mr Philip Abayori, welcomed the decision to support the poultry farmers with funds but called for it to be increased.

“Its a right start but we are even thinking that the amount of money voted need to be increased so that we will be able to get into key markets locally and also in the sub-region,” he said.

Given that increased poultry production will require a corresponding increase in feed, Mr Abayori said more investments should also be channeled into the production of yellow maize and soya bean, which can be used to feed the birds.

He was also hopeful that the government would help build the capacity of the local poultry farmers to enable them to package their products in a way that could stand the competition from the foreign ones.

“You know, everybody is very busy and the taste fir packed produce is there so people want to come and have their chicken thighs well parked. We should push them to be able to get to that point where they can slaughter these chicken and park them very well so that someone who wants them can just pick them and go as the foreign ones because remember you are in competition with the foreign ones and they are very well parked,” he said.

He also called for deliberate policy interventions and investments that will help raise output of day-old chicks and broilers that can then be supplied to interested farmers.