The Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana, GAFPA, is asking government to take steps to reduce the volumes of chicken imported into the country ahead of the festive season to save the local poultry industry.
The Association says local poultry farmers still incur losses as consumers opt for imported chicken over the locally produced broilers.
The Association believes a deliberate reduction in import will grow the local industry and have a direct impact on job creation.
According to statistics from agricinghana.com, domestic consumption of poultry is increasing rapidly, hitting 13.9 percent per year in Ghana.
While the local production of poultry is growing at a rate of 14.1 percent, this is dominated by layers rather than broilers.
The Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana says this translates into an annual consumption of 230,000 tons of poultry of which only about five to ten percent is produced locally.
Poultry is literally an everyday meal. But for festivities like Christmas, they’re special because consumption really goes high, which means more money for those in the industry.
The Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, GAFPA, says the huge imports are taken a toll on their businesses, as they incur losses whenever citizens patronize cheap imported frozen chicken.
According to the Vice President of the Association Michael Ampem, they’re yet to feel the impact of government’s claim that it has reduced chicken imports.
“Those of us who’re into broilers, we are dealing with the imported broilers, and we’re looking at ways to bring the importation down. I am sure a lot of us have heard the rice farmers fighting to get rice imports banned, and we will also be glad as poultry farmers to have imported chicken if not totally banned, reduced to a level where we will be competitive”.
The Association currently operates two 5-tonne per hour integrated feed mills, with a bagging system. Mr. Ampem believes that with the right government interventions, they could achieve more to feed their poultry in order to be competitive on the market.
“This year Maize is doing well because of some of the policies put in by the government. The Planting for Food and Jobs is helping. However, that’s not the end of the day because there are other things that go into the production of our feed. We have the soya, we have the wheat brand, and we have the other things, and those ones are not necessarily coming down, so as an Association we are not able to significantly bring down the prices of our feed”.
GAFPA says government’s ability to reduce importation will also have an impact on job creation as local players will expand to meet a growing demand.
“If we are given the equipment, or we’re supported as they are being supported, I know they cannot compete with us, so they themselves will stop” a poultry farmer said.
“The importation of chicken is a space that everybody occupies. So assuming you have 100 percent space and someone has taken eighty or ninety percent of that space it affects you. But if you were occupying about 80 percent and then person was occupying 20, you could say no problem. The importation doesn’t employ people; it employs people in the other countries. So if we do that, we will be able to create a lot of employment for the country and the level of unemployment will come down” Mr. Ampem noted.