Government Supports Poultry Farmers

The Government is to initiate an intervention to revive the ailing poultry industry in Ghana. Consequently, young male entrepreneurs who want to venture into the poultry sector would receive a capital not exceeding GH¢1 million, while GH¢ 1.5 million will be used to support young, female entrepreneurs who want to venture into any of the value chain process of poultry production in the country. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said the move would be supported with funds from the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF). He made this known during an interactive session with some stakeholders and members of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) in Accra at the weekend. The session was intended to iron out all issues pertaining to the poultry sector and also reveal some government policies that had been lined up to support the sector. In attendance was the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mrs Louisa Hanna Bissiw and some stakeholders and members of GNAPF. Mr Iddrisu said by the last quarter of 2014, there would be a stimulus support package for the production of poultry and rice to help facilitate the economic development of the country. He also said another look would be taken at the need to substantially reduce imports and promote exports while increasing domestic production of poultry and rice, employment, and probably, taxes to be paid to the state. Mr Iddrisu said the ministry had directed EDAIF to revise its budget in order to accommodate the special financial support for poultry and rice production with particular interest in rice because of its seasonal nature. With respect to the issue of frozen chicken, Mr Iddrisu said it was sad that the country spent over GH¢322 million cedis per annum in importing poultry “yet our poultry farmers have the capacity to produce poultry to feed this country”. “What is more encouraging is the fact that we have the capacity to develop a new value chain on poultry farming which includes processing, sales and marketing, and even consider exportation,” he said. He, however, added that there was the need to satisfy domestic production first before considering other areas of the value chain. Addressing the issue on the banning of rice imports in the country, Mr Iddrisu said it was an ignorant argument made in the media circles. “We will ban rice imports if we demonstrate domestic capacity to produce sufficiently to satisfy the domestic market. But until we do that we may not be able to say that rice should not be imported into the country when we are not self-sufficient in its production,” he said. With poultry, he said, there were a number of tariff measures that the government at any time could use to discourage its imports; however, the poultry farmers must also demonstrate their capacity for the domestic production of poultry. Mr Iddrisu said between the last three and six months, the ministry had approved GH¢ 10 million cedis as support for two poultry farm groups in the country. In his address, the Chairman of GNAPF, Mr Kwadwo Asante, said the current challenge facing the sector had to do with funds and a processing plant. He said currently, there were only two processing plants in the country which produced 75,000 birds every week and that could not satisfy the market demand of 2.7 million birds a week. Mr Asante, therefore, said there was the need for poultry farmers to go into broiler production since that would greatly improve the poultry sector. He added that producing broilers was cheaper, compared to layers because it was a short-term investment.