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Cheap Imports Damaging Ghana's Poultry Industry

by 5m Editor
2 August 2010, at 11:01a.m.

GHANA - Poultry producers are urging the government to bring to an end the importation of chicken meat, which , the say, is harming the local industry.

The Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) has appealed to the government to discourage what it calls the 'dumping of cheap imported poultry products into the country' and create fair competition for the local poultry industry.

According to My Joy Online, it said that could be achieved by the government reducing permits for the importation of poultry products.

The National Chairman of the association, Kwadwo Asante, made the call after a three-day regional workshop in Accra.

The workshop, organised by the Expanded Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (E-ATP) project, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was to evaluate the organisational capacity of the Union des Organisations de la Filiere Avicole (UOFA), with the view to enhancing effective management and increasing efficiency.

The UOFA is a regional professional organisation for poultry value chain actors.

The Partner Institutional Viability Assessment (PIVA) workshop, which was attended by more than 20 participants from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Togo, reviewed the UOFA's international capacity and operation.

Mr Asante explained that the local poultry industry was collapsing and unless the government did something urgent, actors in the industry would be thrown out of their jobs and that would seriously affect their livelihoods.

"Even as we speak, the industry is only seasonal. It becomes vibrant during the Christmas, the Ramadan and the Easter seasons, but for the rest of year it is left idle," he added.

He added that annual imports of subsidised dressed poultry had risen from approximately 42,000 tonnes in 2005 to an estimated 130,000 tonnes in 2009, adding that the increase demonstrated the market potential of poultry products in the country and pointed out that the increase had been achieved with little or no promotion or special marketing efforts by importers.

According to Mr Asante, the rising volume of highly subsidised imported chicken, which sold below the price of local products, had resulted in unfair competition.

He stressed that the situation attested to the position held by the GNAPF that price, and not marketing, was the overwhelming cause of the demise of the local broiler industry.

"The ability to dump products on the local market at prices below local cost is the result of various instruments used to subsidise agriculture and, in many cases, the poultry sector," he said.

"The massive sums of dollars that are used to subsidise agriculture, particularly in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, put local agriculture in general and the poultry industry in particular at a great disadvantage, not just in price competitiveness but also in its ability to attract the necessary investment to enable it to develop and grow," he lamented.

He cited a policy change in Ivory Coast, which was helping to revive the local poultry industry, explaining that Ivorian poultry producers were enjoying strong growth because of the imposition of a tax on poultry product imports from the European Union and South America, reports My Joy Online.

Mr Asante wondered why the same policy could not be adopted in Ghana, stressing that it was the only solution to sustain the poultry industry in the country.