Business News of 2014-04-02

Poultry and livestock import policy to be enforced

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) will begin the strict enforcement of a poultry and livestock import policy to boost local production and cut down the country’s importation bill by the end of the year.

The policy allows an importer to bring into the country only 100 tonnes each of livestock and poultry products every three months.

Speaking at a conference and an exhibition on agriculture and trade in Ghana and the United States, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr Hanna Louisa Bissiw, said importers who flouted the regulations would have to return the products to the country of origin.

Organised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US commodity groups, the event was a platform for participants from the two countries to deliberate on issues of mutual interest and create business linkages.

Topics discussed included an overview of Ghana’s feed and poultry industry, food in the institutional and retail sector development, livestock feed sector—current status of industry and market opportunities and trade considerations and the regulatory landscape.

The challenge

Currently, Ghana’s poultry sector is facing challenges following unbridled trade liberalisation that allows the importation of poultry products to complement those from the ailing poultry industry in Ghana.

For a country that could produce 80 per cent of its poultry needs as of 1993, according to MoFA figures, Ghana can now produce a paltry 10 per cent of its poultry needs.

Last year, the country spent $270 million on the importation of poultry products.

Solution

To meet the growing demand for poultry products in the country, the deputy minister said the ministry would soon collaborate with the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers to implement a programme to revitalise the broiler industry.

The programme is to be based on a value chain system involving producers, financiers, marketers and processors.

Apart from Nigeria that has placed a ban on the importation of poultry products, restriction on poultry products across the continent is mainly to curtail the spread of diseases rather than to protect local industries.

She said it was regrettable that some companies that were importing poultry products into the country were at the same time investing in the industry in Nigeria.

Free market advocates argue that market forces must be allowed to dictate the direction of the poultry industry in Ghana.

The Executive Secretary of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers and Feedmillers, Mr Francis Hammond, while applauding the move, urged the ministry to ensure that raw materials and drugs imported for the poultry and livestock industry met standards.

Other issues

In a presentation, Dr Connie Bacon, the West Africa Sanitation and Performance Standards Advisor for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said while it was difficult for poultry and livestock players in West Africa to penetrate the US market because of issues of quality, it was not the same for those who traded in food crops, including yam, cassava, banana and also hibiscus.

She singled out Ghana for producing some of the best pineapples in the world and urged Ghanaian farmers to take advantage of the opportunities existing in the US.

Dr Bacon, however, said while the US was interested in opening its market for such products, they would have to meet a benchmark.

She also stated that the APHIS did not deal with individual permits to export to the US market but rather dealt with requests from governments.

Source: graphic.com
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