Livestock production is an important feature of the country’s agriculture, and accounts for 14% of agricultural GDP.
It is also a major source of income for farmers in the country. Its socio economic importance in the reduction of rural poverty cannot be over emphasized.
According to the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ghana currently imports over 240,000 MT of meat that is, chicken, beef and others to make up for its meat deficit costing the country over USD375 million annually.
The National demand for poultry meat alone is about 400,000Mt with local production of just about 57,871MT an indication that, imports of poultry meat is about 180,000MT with a shortfall of 162,129 MT.
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.
Considering the above situation of high import bills, it behooves on us Ghanaians, to develop a competitive and efficient livestock industry that will revitalize the broiler industry and increase domestic production, reduce importation of livestock products and contribute to employment generation to improve livelihoods and the national economy.
To achieve this, H.E the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 25th June, 2019 launched the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) Initiative at 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 40,000MT of broiler meat on a pilot basis in 2020 and scale up production in subsequent years.
Getting the Rearing for Food and Jobs to work
In line with the above, two months ago, Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto held a meeting in his office with some selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives across the country to discuss targets and ongoing implementation strategies for the poultry sector.
The Hon. Minister indicated that, the Panting for Food and Jobs has over the period yielded lots of feed such as soya and maize for a successful implementation of RFJ particularly for poultry.
He therefore challenged MMDCs to take ownership of the initiative and select prospective poultry farms to participate in the programme.
The Minister indicated that, MoFA will release its lands to start the processes. He equally urged all MMDCEs to acquire lands for the construction of farm houses within their administrative areas.
Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA) and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) collaboration
To achieve the above, MoFA is collaborating with MLGRD through 60 selected (4 Metropolitan, 36 Municipal and 20 District Assemblies) in Southern Ghana to produce 40,000MT of broiler meat (20,000,000 birds) on a pilot basis for the first year. In total 247,480 MT is expected to be produced in 5 years
Metropolitan/ Municipal /district Chief Executives will be empowered to select prospective beneficiaries/farmers and group them into clusters to enhance monitoring and distribution of inputs.
A cluster will be made up of one hundred (100) farms (33 clusters for project) subject to selected MMDAs. MMDCEs will locate parcels of land/ farms within their jurisdiction for the project
Construction of the poultry housing structures will be the responsibility of the Metro, Municipal and District Assemblies, also individual farmers with their own capital could construct their poultry structures or existing poultry farm structures will be enrolled into the project.
It is expected that, local artisans will be engaged to construct these poultry housing structures to create jobs in the Metropolis, Municipalities and Districts.
The Sector Minister has also indicated that, the project will benefit from a 40% subsidy from the Government of Ghana for a period to attract farmers into the dying broiler production sub sector Government through MoFA will subsidize the cost of 1,000 - 2000 day old chicks, vaccines and feed for the first two weeks of production by 50%.
There will be strict monitoring and supervision from the Metro, Municipal, District, Regional and National levels to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the project to deliver on its goals.
Youth, women and other beneficiary farmers will be given practical hands- on training in poultry production techniques prior to their engagement as beneficiaries of this project.
Processing and Marketing
Government is also bring in Processing plant which will consist of slaughtering, cutting and packaging unit, Cold van and Refrigerated kiosk (mobile slaughtering plant) with a capacity of 300 birds per hour per truck.
By: Bagbara Tanko