Business News of Monday, 24 September 2018
Ghana’s collapsing poultry industry is to see a revamp as the country welcomed some poultry operators and investors from Morocco.
This assurance comes from the Agric Minister, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, who witnessed the maiden Ghana-Morocco Poultry Summit in Accra.
Currently, Ghana imports about 135 million tonnes of poultry on an annual basis. This trend could change as the Moroccan investors have been engaging with poultry operators in Ghana on best ways of injecting capital in the sector.
Minister for Agric, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, believes the coming onboard of these poultry investors complements government’s agenda of reducing importation of poultry.
“Morocco are now net exporters of meat and chicken. We still have business people in the poultry industry but because of the feed problem they still fall short of being productive. Our engagement with them gives us the chance to open up and remain very competitive,” he revealed.
President of the Morocco Poultry Federation,Youssef Alaoui says this partnership has the potential of making both countries major players in the poultry industry.
“We can share our experience and held Ghana stop the expensive importation of poultry products. At the end of the day, we’ll see the real opportunity between us,” he said.
Also, the president for the Ghana Poultry Farmers Association, Victor Oppong Agyei was confident the engagement gives Ghana the opportunity to become competitive in the poultry industry.
According to him, poultry farmers will use this platform to leverage on the best practices of Morocco’s poultry industry.
“We’ve had issues related to the importation of frozen chicken which has affected 95 percent of our productivity. This is an opportunity to learn from them so we can produce locally. It’s going to create jobs for the people and alleviate poverty. If we are even producing one million a month, it will be a lot,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the minister says details regarding the exact investment amount will be released after a conclusion of the meeting with these investors.
Despite the Ministry of Food and Agriculture’s policy to reduce the importation of chicken to save the struggling local poultry industry, farmers say challenges persist.
The Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) says local poultry farmers still incur losses as consumers choose cheap frozen chicken dumped on the market over the broilers produced in Ghana.
“We are not seeing it really because if there has been any reduction it would have reflected in our production. But as I speak with you now poultry farmers are not interested in producing broilers because they are not competitive in terms of pricing with the imported ones.
We cannot imagine somebody raising a broiler which is supposed to be sold latest by seven weeks but it gets to 14 weeks, 16 weeks and still you cannot sell. So this has frustrated the farmers and therefore no poultry farmer as of now is interested to go into the broiler production,” the Association’s Chairman, Victor Oppong Adjei, said.
The Association has estimated that over 135,000 metric tonnes of frozen chicken were imported from the European Zone to Ghana in 2017, a figure that represented 76% increase over 2016 imports.
The government will not disclose by how much the frozen chicken importation, which was announced in March has been reduced.
However, Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Food and Agriculture, Dr Nurah Gyeile, recently disclosed on Accra-based 3FM that the importation has been reduced “to the barest minimum.”
He revealed that permits for importation of frozen chicken have been withheld in a bid to support the struggling local poultry industry, but urged farmers to produce enough chicken to feed demand.
Ghana’s poultry feed industry is mostly focused on layer feed due to the increase of layer bird production.
About 80 percent of feed produced by commercial feed millers is layer feed, however, there’s a seasonal broiler feed demand by poultry producers who raise broiler birds for the festive seasons – that during Christmas, Easter and Ramadan.
The main imported feed ingredients are yellow corn, soybean meal, fish meal and vitamin-mineral premixes.
The locally available feed ingredients are corn (white or yellow), soybean cake, cotton-seed cake, kernel cake, copra cake, fish meal and oyster shell.
Apart from the excessive importation of frozen chicken, high costs of feed is also a major problem. The cost of feed adds to a myriad of challenges that increase the cost of chicken production for local poultry farmers.