The prospects of doing more lucrative poultry business is beginning to dawn on members of the Ghana National Association of Poultry farmers (GNAPF), as the farmers testify that their advocacy action had contributed significantly to Ghana's recent revitalization of commercial broiler production.
Following GNAPF's fruitful dialogue with relevant state authorities, Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) recently launched the Ghana Broiler Revitalization Project (GHABROP) which is a ten-year collaboration between the government of Ghana and GNAPF. The project seeks to develop the poultry industry along the poultry value chain and will ensure that production farms, input suppliers, hatcheries, feed mills, veterinary service producers, processors, marketers, cold store operators and consumers all play their roles efficiently to ensure Ghana's self-sufficiency in poultry meat production.
Among other things, the GHABROP project will help develop state of the art poultry processing infrastructure in Ghana, as well as provide a sustainable solution to the rising cost of production for poultry farmers.
The Executive Secretary of GNAPF, Mr. Quame Kokroh pointed out that the introduction of GHABROP is a very encouraging public sector response to the advocacy action of GNAPF, as it is geared towards enhancing the production capacities of local poultry farmers in order to gradually reduce the nation's massive importation of poultry products.
"Through the GHABROP project, the government is putting structures in place to ensure that within the next five years, at least 40 per cent of all poultry products consumed in Ghana will be produced by local poultry farmers. Currently, as part of requirements for acquiring an import license, all importers of poultry products are required to provide proof that 40 per cent of their total stock comes from local poultry farmers. This policy actually demonstrates a massive public sector support for Ghanaian poultry farmers, as it is about to create a very large market for local poultry farmers," Mr. Kokroh disclosed in an interview.
Members of GNAPF are also delighted about the fact that the Government is beginning to take steps to protect the local poultry industry against unfair competition from cheap imported poultry products. The farmers say that Government had finally heeded their call for the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) which ensures that all consumable goods (including poultry products) imported into ECOWAS member states attract a minimum tariff of 20 per cent. This move has the potential of making the products of local poultry farmers more competitive on the domestic market.
An executive member of the association, Mr. John Torto, stated that "after the persistent advocacy action of GNAPF, the government of Ghana finally signed the ECOWAS CET agreement in late 2013, and its implementation is expected to commence in 2015. When properly implemented, this tax policy will increase the prices of imported poultry products and end the unfair competition against locally produced poultry products. This tax policy, coupled with the implementation of GHABROP will go a long way to develop Ghana's poultry industry."
Broiler production businesses in Ghana have collapsed 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 currently account for less than 3 per cent of market share for poultry products. The collapse of broiler production has 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 to enable them advocate the enactment of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff on poultry imports as stated in the nation's 2011 budget.
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 officials from the MOFA, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agric and Cocoa Affairs, during which they extensively discussed the need to protect the local poultry industry from unfair external competition.
By Ebenezer Kpentey