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Concern over Decline of Ghana's Smallholder Poultry

by 5m Editor
20 December 2010, at 9:41a.m.

GHANA - The food and agriculture ministry is concerned about the collapse of smallholder poultry as the result of imports of poultry meat and eggs.

Dr Anthony Nsoh Akunzule, Deputy Director of Veterinary Service Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), has expressed concern about the collapse of smallholder poultry breeding, according to Ghana Web.

He said this had paved way for the massive subsidised importation of frozen chicken from the European Union (EU) and other countries. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Dr Akunzule said the importation of frozen chicken had been so massive that locally produced chicken and eggs could not compete with the huge difference in prices, which was often half the price of local equivalents.

"As Christmas is approaching, the local poultry market will suffer a great deal because the imported chicken is sold at a far cheaper price and processed into ready-to use parts," he said.

He said that in Ghana, smallholder poultry production was an effective means for livelihood, household incomes and family nutrition and local traditions were well embedded in local family and community structures and culture, hence, the need to revitalise the smallholder poultry in Ghana. The demand for local chicken and eggs in the early 1990s was 95 per cent but this figure dropped drastically to 11 per cent in 2002.

Dr Akunzule called on the government to give smallholder poultry production attention in the areas of policy and support so they could deliver the desired agriculture revolution in the country, considering the large number of actors involved in the poultry value chain.

He said: "The category of actors in the poultry value chain includes the input suppliers, the producers, marketing and transporters of poultry and poultry products, processors and consumers and everybody must play its role effectively to enable the poultry sector flourish."

He added that as Ghana was working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals through various programmes instituted to address the eight goals, it was necessary that attention was focused on local poultry to ensure employment and food security.

Dr Akunzule said in 2005, Sankofa Foundation, an NGO in conjunction with the Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen introduced and piloted a new concept of family poultry in the Asutsuare community in the Dangme West District of the Greater Accra Region. The concept proved to generate concrete benefits to resource-poor rural inhabitants and created jobs for people especially women.

Ghana Web reports that he called on Ghanaians to patronise the local poultry which is more nutritious and tasty to support, saying: "Eat what you grow and buy made-in-Ghana goods".