GHANA – Ghana’s local poultry industry is predicted to possess the potential to grow in the next few years due to a 6% increase in consumption of chicken per year, report GNA.

According to the Netherlands Ambassador, Mr Ron Strikker, national demand for frozen chicken stood high at 175,000Metric Tonnes(Mt) paving way for large importation of the products.

In the year 2017, Ghana imported over 135,000Mt of frozen chicken from the EU, 76% increase over the 2016 EU import while frozen chicken imports jumped from 13,000 metric tons in 2000 to over 155,000 metric tons in 2011 costing US$169 million.

A larger importation margin has been created through the economic policies put in place by the country, working against chicken production by local farmers.

Total domestic supply of broiler meat was less than 25% at 35,000 tons despite an increasing demand, whilst imports increased by 14,000 tons to reach 158,000 tons in 2017.

The huge amounts of chicken importation could be attributed to a lower consumption rate in relation to demand as a result of high cost of poultry feed, inadequate processing and inefficient feed management leading to huge imports of frozen chicken.

Ghana’s potential poultry output was estimated at 4.4 million birds although the country’s farms produced only 2.1million birds despite chicken being an important source of protein in most diets.

Strikker added that there was need to enhance production of meat and eggs and this could be achieved by supplying quality inputs such as feed and day-old chicks with fewer diseases, less mortality and persistent production.

However, access to the day-old chicks and the available inputs could be hampered by the recent introduced 15% VAT.

To boost local poultry production, the Netherlands and Ghanaian governments will collaborate to ensure that the best quality input remained available for poultry farmers.

“The Netherlands is home to some Europe’s most successful poultry meat and egg producers.

The country with only 17 million people has 83 million chickens.

That is why it is good to do business with the Dutch,” said Mr. Strikker.

The initiatives include value-addition to poultry products, promotion for strategic investments within the agricultural sector including poultry industry, with special interest in small-holder farming.

According to Dr Gyiele Nurah, Minister of State, Food and Agriculture in-charge of Livestock, growth in the local poultry sector was hindered by a number of factors including minimal participation of local farmers.

Efforts from both stakeholders and poultry industry players would increase capacity for production, promote profitability and cut on imports.

Mr Victor Oppong Adjei, the National Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) observed that the poultry industry remained a multi-billion-dollar industry, with a huge formidable value chain of creating over a million secured jobs in the country.

“This is an industry which has a great potential for economic and developmental growth of the country, by eradicating poverty among the people and empowering them for their social requirement,” he added.