Poultry farmers in Ghana who have been lamenting over stiff competition from importers of frozen chicken can now feel relief after the government’s restriction on imports of such products.
Local poultry farmers have over the years been pleading with the government to intervene on what they called the excessive importation of frozen chicken as well as the rising costs of production which are having a toll on their operations.
According to the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), over 135,000 metric tonnes of frozen chicken was imported from the European Zone to Ghana in 2017, and this represented a 76% increase over 2016 imports.
But the importers have often justified their move, saying that the local poultry industry is not able to meet the demand.
Dr Gyiele Nurah, the Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Food and Agriculture has therefore thrown a challenge to the local producers to meet the demand of the market as failure to do so means the restriction on imports will be reversed.
“Now that we have reduced importation of frozen chicken, domestic producers must be prepared to feed the people. But if we see that it is not working, then we have to reverse it – because government has the responsibility to feed the people as well as support local poultry producers.
“Ideally, government would want to feed the consumers with locally-produced chicken. Local producers must cut themselves away from the era of marketing birds with feathers to marketing processed birds and chicken meat products, including sausages and barbecue.
“We must develop value chains that will make all the difference in our earnings from the poultry industry. And the time to begin to do that is now,” the minister was quoted by local media, the Business and Financial Times.
He was speaking at the opening session of the 2nd Poultry Value Chain (POVAC) fair held in Brong Ahafo regional capital, Sunyani.
Africa’s population is growing and with it comes the increasing demand for the consumption of meat. Chicken which is the first choice of meat for most Africans is, however, migrating from European countries like Germany and Brazil to the continent as African countries are not able to produce enough birds to feed themselves.
Between 2004 and 2014, imports of chicken to sub-Saharan Africa tripled, according to figures from the US Department of Agriculture.