GHANA - A poultry development fund could be Ghana’s best bet for arresting the rising level of poultry imports and creating much-needed jobs, says a report from the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET).
Currently, only 42 per cent of domestic consumption is said to be supplied by domestic production, which is well below the West African average of 86 per cent, reports GhanaWeb.
Although the Export Trade, Agricultural & Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF) has been created, the acute nature of the poultry sector’s difficulties require a specialised fund, the Ghana version of the report titled ‘Promoting Rural Sustainable Development and Transformation in Africa’ noted.
In 2007, government had to hand out some 1.5 million Ghanaian cedi as compensation to farmers who lost their birds to a bird flu outbreak, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) confirmed more outbreaks of the disease there this week.
However, the sector’s troubles go beyond the outbreak of diseases to include high cost of production, inefficient production methods, limited know-how, lack of funding, and processing difficulties, the report noted.
“The domestic poultry sector remains largely uncompetitive against imports; rising demand has been met by rising imports. Imported products tend to be 30-40 per cent cheaper than locally produced chicken,” the report said.
According to the business solutions provider Technoserve, Ghana’s importation of poultry products from America and Europe reached an estimated US$179 million in 2012, up from US$4.5 million two years before.
This forty-fold increase, the ACET report said, is partially because of the challenges confronting local producers and the huge domestic deficit from consumer demand for poultry products.
Chicken consumption, meanwhile, is said to have increased rapidly and become an important part of the Ghanaian diet. Technoserve estimates that consumption grew at an annual rate of 12.6 per cent between 2007 and 2011, from 21 million tonnes to 110 million tonnes.
The report, which is part of a larger study of five African countries including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, identifies fewer than 20 large-scale poultry operators (over 10,000 birds) in Ghana, which mainly produce eggs.
ACET also proposed the use of used fridges to make hatcheries in a bid to reduce the importation of day-old chicks.
“The success of locally-based fabricated cassava-processing equipment from scrap metal by local artisans shows that Ghana has what it takes to develop cheap local hatcheries,” the report said.
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