Public urged to consume locally produced poultry
The Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association (GAPFA) has called on Ghanaians to consume locally produced poultry products during the Christmas period to support the growth of the industry.
It said buying local poultry products would help members of the association to expand their businesses and make it possible for them to create employment and support the national economy.
The Vice President of the association, Mr Micheal Nyarko Ampem, said this at the opening of the GAPFA Annual General Meeting to take stock of the financial position of the association.
He said the practice of consuming imported chicken was killing the local poultry industry.
He stated that to meet the national demand of 175,000 metric tonnes annually, large volumes of frozen chicken was imported into the country, which stifled growth of the local poultry industry.
Mr Ampem said the production and consumption of locally produced chicken had not kept pace with the country’s demand due to the high cost of poultry feed, inadequate feed processing outlets and inefficient feed management, thus leading to the huge imports of frozen chicken.
To him, the situation was partly attributable to the country’s economic policies which had created opportunities for the importation of frozen chicken and downplayed local production.
To facilitate the growth of the local poultry industry, Mr Ampem called on the government to gradually reduce chicken importation and help local operators rise to meet the increasing public demand for chicken.
He said the government, through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), should embark on a consistent behavioural change communication campaign to change the mindsets of the people with regard to chicken consumption.
“That cannot happen in a year. The campaign must be consistent over a period and hopefully we can change the behaviour of people and get them to eat more poultry produced locally.
As an association, we are prepared to meet the local demand. Many of our members have coops that are lying idle and if the government decides to ban or reduce poultry imports, we are ready to step in to fill the gap,” Mr Ampem said.
He said per data available at the MOFA, the total number of birds in the country stood at about 40 million “and that is below the expected level because just one farm in the US has 40.2 million birds.”
He said for the 30 million population of Ghana, the consumption of birds should be about 2.5 birds per person “but currently we are at about 1.3 and so there is a huge gap for us to meet the United Nations standard.”
A Vice Chairman of the management committee of GAPFA, Mr Kwame Ntim Duodu, said: “We have the capacity and the expertise to meet national consumption but many people do not want to venture into the industry because they are not sure of the market in view of the low patronage of poultry that is produced locally.”
He said local poultry operators were currently unable to compete with importers of poultry into the country “because they have access to cheaper financial sources and benefit from low interest rates and are, therefore, able to dump their products on us,” he said.
"It is unfortunate that people like to consume imported chicken. Birds produced locally do not go through many years of storage. Some of the imported poultry that we consume have been stored for more than three years before being shipped into the country.
We are capable of giving you healthy meat at affordable prices,” he said.
Mr Duodu said the average Ghanaian consumed 49 eggs in a year while in the US for instance people consumed more than 200 eggs annually.
To him, the low consumption of eggs in Ghana could be attributed to the misconception people have about eggs.
“People are told that eggs contain cholesterol but this is not true. We have to eat a lot of eggs because it is good for our health,” he said.