Business News of 2014-08-01

Poultry farmers want subsidies on feed

The Vice-President of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, Mr Tony Mensah, has appealed to the government to subsidise the cost of poultry feed in order to help farmers increase the production of birds in the country to meet the growing local demand.

He also noted that such a move would empower local poultry farmers to be able to produce sufficient birds to compete effectively with imported poultry on pricing.

“Almost 70 per cent of production cost is on feed and this is where we want the government to come in. Now there is no subsidy on poultry as it was in the 1980s,” Mr Mensah told the Daily Graphic in an interview last Wednesday. “Soya, maize and fish meal are the main ingredients of poultry feed but these are very expensive and that is where the challenge is,” he added.

Need for capacity building

While commending the government for being proactive in its efforts to resuscitate the industry by bringing on board the ‘Ghana Broiler Revitalisation Project (GHABROP),’ Mr Mensah said there was also the need to rebuild the capacities of poultry farmers in the country to be abreast of modern ways of farming to increase productivity.

“You can have good feed; you can have good birds yet management will be a problem, so the government can also help in developing the capacity of poultry farmers to be able to manage production,” he appealed.

On earlier requests for the government to consider compelling hotels to use only locally-grown chicken in their operations, Mr Mensah said the government must first improve the production capacity of local farmers to be able to meet local demand before such a policy could be implemented.

Poultry advisory council

Mr Mensah also called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to expedite action on the setting up of the poultry advisory council.

“The council is expected to oversee the operations of the industry and a document on its establishment was currently with Cabinet for approval,” Mr Mensah said.

The document when approved by Cabinet, he said, would oversee the welfare of the local poultry industry and also help build the capacity of players.

On the impact of recent investments in the poultry industry, Mr Mensah said Ghanaians should expect increased output this year to meet a greater part of demand.

He, however, urged all Ghanaians to repose confidence in the local poultry industry and opt for local chicken as against imported ones.

Ghana’s competitiveness

There is currently a debate as to whether or not the country has the competitive advantage to do poultry on a large scale to meet local demand and for export.

The Managing Director of the Ghana Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (GHANECC), Mr Nico Van Staalduinen, who stirred the controversy when he suggested to the government not to concentrate on poultry production because Ghana lacked the competitive advantage in the sector, has come under intense fire from all walks of life.

According to him, the conditions in Ghana did not favour poultry production and urged the government to focus on areas such as rice production, among other things, where it had the competitive advantage.

Making a contribution during the Graphic Business/Fidelity Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra, he categorically called on the government to stop investing in the production of poultry, and explained that the high temperatures in the country, high cost of poultry feed and frequent outbreak of bird flu made it uncompetitive for the country to undertake commercial rearing of the birds. But his assertion has been vehemently opposed by various people, including players in the local poultry industry.

They cited the early 80s and 90s when Ghana had many poultry farmers who produced on a large scale to meet local demand and for exports as an example that could be repeated provided the government provided a better playing field for the farmers in the business.

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