Statistics released by the Veterinary Services Directorate indicate that 219,240 hatching eggs and 1,413,920-day-old chicks were imported into the country in 2008.
The information said this came about due to the high cost of poultry produced in the country, the taste for foreign broilers by Ghanaians, and the high inputs used in the production of poultry in Ghana, leading to high cost of production.
Speaking during the introduction of a new poultry breed (Aribro broilers) developed by the Animal Research Institute (ARI) of the CSIR on Tuesday, Dr. Abdulai Baaba Salifu, Director-General of CSRI said the 'Aribro' was a new kind of breed for the production of day old chicks for broilers in the country.
"With this development, it is now possible to produce 'parent lines' which hitherto would have been imported at a minimum of 3 euros per parent chick," he said.
He said the 'parent lines' developed, would be used for the production of commercial broilers and that day old chicks would be supplied to commercial poultry farmers in the country and also to the sub region at a relatively lower cost.
He intimated that by this feat, the importation of broiler nucleus, grandparents and parents lines would gradually be curtailed. Dr. Salifu cited fast growth, higher life span and adaptability to harsh local environmental conditions as compared to the foreign ones as some of the characteristics of the Aribro breed.
He praised the CSRI for being the largest scientific research organization in the country with 13 research institutes and over 500 researchers, who were of varied specialized disciplines and expertise playing significant roles in ensuring food security in the country.
Dr. Kwame Boa-Amponsem, the project Leader, said under normal circumstance the research should have taken about four years but due to lack of research materials, it took ARI about 30 years to come out with the Aribro breed.
He said the Aribro breed, which had some of the features of the foreign broilers came about after certain poultry (both and female) with specific genes were selected and made to mate.
He said the Aribro breed was already on the market and that the ARI at the moment produces about 2,300 Aribro chicks a week for the market, adding that, if the institute received all the needed assistance from the government, it would be able to produce more.
He urged government to reduce the prices of major broiler feeds such as cereals and soya beans to enhance the competition on the market between the cheaper foreign breeds and the local ones.
"Policy makers should also monitor the effects of fertilizer subsidy and the breeding work at the ARI to curtail the huge market captured by foreign imports," he added. Dr. Percival Kuranchie, Chairman for the function, appealed to the CSIR to come out with initiatives that would help the organization.
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