Nutreco to Invest in Ghanaian Poultry

GHANA - An international animal nutrition and feed company, Nutreco, has expressed interest in investing in Ghana’s poultry and aquaculture feed industry.
calendar icon 25 January 2013
clock icon 4 minute read
By: Banrie

A delegation from the company is in the country as part of a West African tour to explore business opportunities to expand the frontiers of feed production in Africa, reports DailyGraphic

Currently, the cost of feed remains the biggest headache for poultry farmers, resulting in the broiler sector of the poultry industry in Ghana struggling to cope with stiff competition from imported poultry.

While demand for fish is high in Ghana, local production is not meeting demand. As of 2005, the country was spending nearly US$100 million a year on the importation of 200 metric tones of fish to supplement domestic production.

But giving an overview of Nutreco’s operations in a presentation to officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), the Chief Executive Officer, Mr Knut Nesse, said, “The company has what it takes to put Ghana’s poultry on its feet so far as feed is concerned.”

The company currently has a giant plant in Egypt where it produces feed for farmed tilapia in that country and in a number of countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. In addition, Nutreco is the biggest producer of fresh poultry or broiler in Spain, with a market share of 27 per cent.

The century-old Nutreco employs approximately 10,000 people in 30 countries, with sales in 80 countries. The company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Stock Exchange in Amsterdam and had annual revenue of EUR 4.7 billion in 2011 and operates 100 mills in more than 30 countries across the world.

“For aquaculture, we are in 15 countries and provide feed for more than 50 different farmed fish species, including tilapia, salmon and catfish,” Mr Nesse said.

With Europe yet to find a solution to its financial predicament, he said the company was looking to other regions, including America, Asia and also more and more into Africa because “we really believe that a lot of growth and business opportunities will happen in Africa over the next decade".

“Our key objective here is to learn and understand the size and fundamentals of the market and the growth opportunities,” he added.

The Chief Director of MoFA, Mr Maurice Tanco Abisa-Seidu, commended the company for its interest in Ghana and said the ministry would give adequate support to any company that had with it took to bring growth to the poultry and aquaculture sectors.

He, therefore, urged Nutreco to consider Ghana as its first option in sub Saharan Africa as it sought to expand its tentacles.

While the major issues behind the declining state of Ghana’s poultry industry are varied and complex, the most significant is government’s policy towards the growth of the sector.

In small remote communities, poultry farming is everything. It is the mainstay of rural communities, providing the major and – in some cases – the only source of income for many inhabitants.

But the future of successive governments to come up with clear policies that will put the industry on its feet has triggered the import surge of frozen chicken from the USA and the European Union.

The Chief Operating Officer of Nutreco in charge of Animal Nutrition, Mr Jerry A. Vergger, said, “There are a lot of ways we can assist in the development of the industry with the expertise and knowledge we have from other parts of the world, but probably at this point in time the fundamental work that has to be done is setting up the infrastructure”.

He said additionally, there had to be some form of education for consumers to increase demand for fresh poultry produce.

“Fresh poultry will always be more expensive than imported poultry products that are, in many cases, dumped as excess into countries like this. We have demonstrated that in Spain where the big part of our success is establishing a strong demand for fresh poultry,” he added.

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