Ghana Broiler Revitalization Project (GHABROP) aimed at boosting local capacity in the production, processing and marketing of broiler chicken was launched in Accra.
The project would also develop the poultry industry along the poultry value chain and ensure that production farms, input suppliers, hatcheries, feed mills, veterinary service producers, processors, marketers/cold stores and consumers all play their roles to ensure self-sufficiency.
The project was an initiative of the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), which would run for 10 years.
Dr Hanna Louisa Bissiw, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-Charge of Livestock, launching the project, said the project was necessary and crucial to the survival of the local broiler industry.
“As you may be aware, Ghana is deficient in her meat and milk requirements. Unfortunately the present levels of livestock and poultry production are woefully inadequate to meet the animal protein needs of 24 million human population.
“This has resulted in Ghana becoming a net importer of frozen meat of which poultry meat constitutes the highest proportion,” she said.
She said between 2010 and 2012, Ghana imported approximately 200,000 metric tonnes of chicken valued at 200 million dollars which is equivalent to 2.6 million chicken per week.
The Deputy Minister said she believed that increasing local livestock and poultry production in the country was the way forward in ensuring not only self-sufficiency in meat production but also the creation of employment opportunities for the youth in alleviation of poverty.
She said it would also ensure better health for the people and conservation of foreign exchange used in importing huge quantities of frozen meat into the country.
She stated that the target of the project is to produce 30,000 metric tonnes of broiler meat with an expected increase to 60,000 metric tonnes by the year 2016.
These targets, she said, would progressively reduce Ghana’s meat import burden to 40 per cent by 2016, in line with MOFA’s national livestock strategy policy to increase the supply of meat, animal and dairy products of domestic production from the current aggregate level of 30 per cent to 40 per cent of national requirement by 2016.
Dr Bissiw said arrangements are far advanced in terms of hatching eggs earmarked for the project, the eggs would be hatched by selected hatcheries and the day old broiler chicks made available to selected hub farms for brooding.
To date eight hubs and 58 satellite farms were selected to start the project in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. The hub farms will subsequently work with satellite farms to grow more broilers for them under production contracts.
The Deputy Minister noted that hub farmers were selected based on farmer’s acceptance and commitment to the terms and conditions of the project; farmer’s experience in broiler production; availability of space, and performance in similar projects in the past.
“The hub farmers will be financially and operationally responsible for the satellite farmers and are the channels through which resources (funding/inputs) will get to the satellite farms. Importantly, they will jointly supervise the satellite with the Technical team from the MOFA to ensure conformity to quality standards and avoidance of side marketing of the mature broilers.
“It is expected that the birds would be ready by the 45th day to be picked up by the processors for processing, and then packaged for the marketers, for distribution,” she added.
Dr Abissiw said one of the important safeguards in the project is that contractual agreements have been made between the sponsor and hatcheries, feed mills, farmers, processors and marketers who would be off-takers at agreed and negotiated prices.
She said MOFA had put mechanisms in place to ensure that the market was secured for the broilers that would be churned out by the project and assured the public that the products would meet the desired quality and packaging standards.
The Deputy Minister said one of such mechanisms included strict enforcement of import permit quotas for meat imports and evidence of purchase of locally produced chicken by importers before the issuance of new permits to them.
Mr Kwame Qokro, Executive Secretary of GNAPF, said the association is highly committed to the project because of the huge socio-economic benefits it held for the Ghanaian economy.
He said the project would stem the current growing imports of poultry products, create employment, sustain the local poultry industry, guarantee food security and quality chicken, and increase supply of animal protein.
He, therefore, urged MOFA to establish the National Poultry Council to regulate the industry.
“GNAPF has a strong belief that strict adherence to quality standards along the broiler value chain is non-negotiable and we need a Council to take up this responsibility,” he added.
Mr Qokro commended the out-gone Minster, Mr Clement Kofi Humado, for his keen involvement and the unprecedented commitment of the unrelenting Deputy Minister, Dr Bissiw and Haruna Iddrissu, Minister of Trade and Industries.
“Importantly, GNAPF cannot fail to state the strong interest and commitment of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, to the poultry industry in Ghana. His creation of the GHC20 million Poultry Stimulus Fund demonstrates an unparalleled belief in the local poultry.” GNA