The Agricultural Development Bank (adb), has announced a 500 million cedis loan facility to help poultry farmers from six regions within the country.
The move, according to the bank, is aimed at reducing the importation of chicken and make Ghana’s poultry industry competitive and also forms part of efforts to help strengthen Ghana’s livestock sector.
Currently, Ghana’s annual import of chicken stands at over 300 million dollars. This translates into five million chicken production weekly.
Already, the bank has approved 25 million cedis for six broiler value chain players to produce and process over a hundred thousand birds per week in the Bono Region. This amount is expected to cater for the initial phase of the project.
Speaking at a press briefing, the Managing Director of adb, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, said the bank will disburse a total of 500 million cedis to broiler value chain players in input supply, producers, processors and market players in the six regions.
“It is obvious that when you look at the poultry value chain, you are thinking of hatchers who produce the day-old chicks. We are thinking of actual production which in the lay man’s language is about rearing of birds especially broilers. Then broilers have to be fed and so we are thinking of feed millers and feed millers mostly use cereals like maize and soya bean. Because it’s a value chain, we are also looking at the processing of the matured broilers,” he said.
He said the regions that are set to benefit from the facility are the Bono Region, Ashanti, Eastern, Central, Greater Accra and the Western Region.
In explaining how the project will compete with imported chicken as prices are lower than the local ones, Dr. Mensah stated that the loans will have an interest rate of less than 10 per cent to help reduce the price of the local chicken.
“The bank will partner the Ministry of Agriculture and Finance to effectively roll out the project, “ he added.
Revamping the Poultry Sector in Ghana
Livestock production is an important feature of the country’s agriculture, accounting for 14% of agricultural GDP.
According to the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana currently imports over 240,000 Megatonne of meat that is, chicken, beef and others to make up for its meat deficit costing the country over 375 million dollars annually.
The National demand for poultry meat alone is about 400,000 Megatonne with local production of just about 57,871 Megatonne. This is an indication that the import of poultry meat is about 180,000 Megatonne with a shortfall of 162,129 Megatonne.
It has been identified that broiler meat importation constitutes over 80% of total meat imports into the country and broiler production has also been identified as the fastest means of reducing meat imports through local production or import substitution.
In June last year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) Initiative in Wa, Upper West Region under the theme “Self-Sufficiency in Meat Production – a Must”
The RFJ initiative is to modernize and transform agriculture for food, jobs and foreign exchange through the rearing of livestock such as poultry, cattle, sheep, goats among others. The target of this initiative for the poultry sector is to produce 40,000 Megatonne of broiler meat on a pilot basis in 2020 and scale up production in subsequent years.