More and more Ghanaians are opting for the cheaper imported chicken resulting in local poultry farmers struggling to keep in business.
According to John Torto, president of the Ga East Area Poultry Farmers Association, because of the lack of interest in local poultry some farmers are unable to sell birds. In some cases birds are being sold at 16 weeks instead of the usual 8 weeks, which also results in extra feeding costs.
The poultry industry is the most developed part of Ghana’s livestock sector. Commercial poultry development began in the late 1960s and then experienced an unprecedented growth up to the 1980s.
In the 1990s, a total of 10- registered commercial hatcheries with combined capacities of about 11 million day old chicks per year, 30 registered commercial feed milling companies and two processing plants were established in the country, making the poultry industry totally integrated.
However that has changed following the introduction of trade liberalisation and the import of cheaper chicken.
During the time of the National Democratic Congress a 20% tariff was imposed on chicken which improved the national breeding of broilers. Then a further 20% tariff was imposed by the new Patriotic Party government really turned things around for the poultry industry and business grew. Up until the government changed its mind and removed the tariff.
According to Torto, Ghanaians can rise to the challenge of meeting the nation’s poultry needs if the government gives poultry farmers the right support.