Members of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) believe that they are now in a better position to increase their productivity and incomes after receiving capacity building support from the Skills Development Fund to upgrade their skills in poultry management practices.

The support from SDF enabled the members to acquire very useful poultry keeping skills such as good feed intake and feed formulation, feed utilization in broiler chicken, superior egg production and chicken growth rate management. 

A total of 1,200 poultry farmers from across the country benefitted from the poultry management training which has upgraded the skills of members to increase productivity and incomes.

The Vice President of GNAPF, Mr Napoleon Agyemang Oduro, stated that as a result of the training support, members of the association are enhancing their productivity through an improvement in the growth rate of birds and a reduction in morbidity and mortality of birds, leading to an increase in revenue for the farmers.

Members of the association also testified that through additional support from the Animal Science Department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), poultry farmers belonging to GNAPF have benefitted from weight improvement techniques for birds, which is helping the farmers to get better value for their birds.

Poultry farming in Ghana has seen dwindling fortunes in the last decade due to the lack of skills and knowledge to prevent high morbidity and mortality of birds. The industry has also faced stiff competition from imported cheap poultry products that has negatively affected productivity, income and profit.

Poultry farmers currently produce only 10 per cent of the broiler meat consumed in the country and this is due to the lack of skills and knowledge to counter the growing threat of imported chicken.

There is also the problem of disease outbreaks, which has also negatively affected the prospects of poultry industry in the country. So acute are the challenges that local giants such as Darko Farms, Akate Farms, Jokas Farms Limited, have all become a pale shadow of themselves, leaving the industry in a distress situation.

It is in this regard that the poultry farmers association sought the capacity building support from SDF in May 2014 to train its members in poultry production and management to enable the farmers enhance their productivity income.

Having upgraded their core technical skills in poultry production practices, the leadership of the poultry farmers realised that their members also needed Business Development Skills (BDS) to enable them manage their poultry farm businesses efficiently. 

The leadership of GNAPF realised that majority of their members lack entrepreneurial skills, innovative marketing strategies and leadership skills. These capacity gaps were slowing down the growth of poultry businesses, thus rendering them uncompetitive and unproductive on the local market. Ultimately these skill handicaps deprived poultry farmers   the opportunity to get a fair share of the local market to facilitate business growth and development.

To address these capacity needs, members of GNAPF again applied for a BDS grant from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund in September 2017 to enable them polish their business management skills. 

The BDS support from the BUSAC Fund enabled the poultry farmers to undergo training on innovation and marketing strategy development, entrepreneurial development, modern leadership skills, monitoring and evaluation.

Members of the association believe that these skills will enable them to improve their market share, improve their competitiveness, increase productivity and incomes.   

Mr. Oduro stated that the association is optimistic that these skills will help them grow their poultry farm businesses and assist their drive to reposition the poultry industry to recover from the ailing times.

Even before the members of the poultry farmers association embarked on their quest for improving their technical and managerial skills, they saw the need to address some challenges in the business environment that were hampering the growth of the poultry industry in Ghana. 

One of those key challenges in the business environment was the collapse of broiler production in Ghana as a result of unfair competition from imported cheap poultry products. From a market share of nearly 100 per cent in the early 1980s, local producers then accounted for less than 3 per cent of market share for poultry products.  The collapse of broiler production also adversely affected the related hatchery, feed mill and associated industries. To save the poultry industry from further decline, the Ghana National of Poultry Farmers sought funding from the BUSAC Fund in 2011 to enable them advocate the enactment of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff on poultry imports.

With the support of its Development Partners, DANIDA, USAID and the EU, the BUSAC Fund provided an advocacy grant to the leadership of GNAPF to enable them press home their demands for policies to protect the local poultry industry from unfair competition from imported poultry products. As part of their advocacy action, the leadership of GNAPF had fruitful dialogue sessions with duty bearers on the need to protect the local poultry industry from unfair external competition. 

The Vice President of GNAPF, Mr. Napoleon Agyemang Oduro, described the support by BUSAC Fund as a game changer since it has helped to put the association on a good path to turning around the fortunes of the poultry industry.

In an interview with Mr. Oduro on October 6, 2018, he explained that through the BUSAC grant, they have been able to build the capacity of 38 of their leaders at the national, regional and district levels on how to identify key challenges in the industry, sensitise other members, and engage in healthy discourse on how to address those challenges.

"There were many misconceptions and myths about the eating of eggs which was a negative development for our industry, but through BUSAC's support, we have been able to engage the government and appropriate stakeholders to discredit those myths," he said.

Mr. Oduro said the great support the GNAPF received from BUSAC could not be measured especially when there was the urgent need for strong engagement with policy makers to put more investments in the poultry industry to create jobs and expand the economy.

"Importation of poultry and poultry related products is still high in this country and this is making the local industry uncompetitive. Meanwhile, the government has a mantra of making the private sector the engine of growth for the country. Through the support of the BUSAC Fund, we have been able to build capacity in research so we are able to provide data and strong evidence to the government on why they need to support the local poultry industry to grow. If the private sector is the engine of growth, we are telling the government that the engine needs fuel to move," he said.

Mr Oduro added however, that more work still remained to be done for which reason the GNAPF will be an Oliver Twist by asking BUSAC Fund to extend more support packages to the association.

The BUSAC Fund is supported by Danida and the USAID