GHANA – Ghana has launched the ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) campaign, another module of the government’s flagship programme “Planting for Food and Jobs” aimed at developing livestock industry.

Speaking during the launch of the campaign in Wa Upper West Region, the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, bemoaned the steep decline of Ghana’s livestock sector that has significantly reduced its contribution to the economy

The campaign will run for five years, from 2019 to 2023, and seeks to bridge US$400 million annual meat product gap.

He said that the initiative “will develop a competitive and more efficient livestock industry, that will increase domestic production, reduce importation of livestock products, contribute to employment creation, and improve livelihoods of livestock value chain actors.”

Currently, the country’s annual local meat production accounts for only 19% of the total meat requirements.

Towards addressing the challenges confronting the country’s livestock industry, the President stated that RFJ will focus its attention on breed improvement, productivity and production and development of infrastructure and processing facilities.

In addition, it will also focus on feed production, animal health and disease control, commercialisation of livestock production and entrepreneurship development, and application of e-agriculture in livestock production.

“By design, the campaign will cover selected value chains in the livestock sector namely, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry chicken and guinea fowl,” he added.

The country has also embarked on reviving some of the 22 breeding farms countrywide in order to support the sector which currently counts of only 6 operational breeding farms.

President Akufo-Addo said that in the five-year period of the RFJ campaign, it is projected that 40,500 small ruminants, mainly sheep and goats, 38,000 pigs, 258,000 cockerels and 660,000 guinea fowls will be distributed to livestock farmers and would-be farmers, throughout the country,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“These planned interventions are indicative of the important attention now being given to the livestock sector after years of neglect,” he said.

Components of RFJ

Towards addressing the seasonal inadequacy of feed, both in quantity and quality, the RFJ campaign will develop low-tech ways of transforming millions of tons of crop waste into millions of tons of high-quality animal feed.

 “To achieve this, government will procure and subsidise forage harvesting, bailing machines and equipment to enable livestock farmers conserve enough crop residue for dry season feeding of animals.

“Maize and soybean production, which are already being given the necessary support under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, will provide enough feed for the poultry at lower than usual cost,” President Akufo-Addo added.

Whilst acknowledging that poor disease control could jeopardise the contribution of the livestock sector to food security, the President indicated RFJ will also integrate a disease control and surveillance component.

In addition, the e-agriculture in the RFJ campaign is expected to actors of the livestock value chain access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on various aspects of the livestock industry.