Solidaridad, an international civil society organization, and its partners have launched a three-year poultry project aimed at promoting an inclusive and integrated poultry meat value chain that provides decent jobs and better incomes for small-scale farmers in Ghana.
The project, which is being piloted in four districts in Ashanti Region, including Atwima Kwanwoma, Amansie West, Amansie Central, Bosomtwe and Bekwai, will focus on strengthening the poultry business by enhancing the value chain for locally raised and processed chicken.
A total of 500 farmers, 30 per cent of whom are women and youth will be targeted under the project dubbed, “Better Chicken for a Better Future,” with funding from the Netherland Enterprise Agency.
It is being implemented by a consortium of seven Ghanaian and Dutch partners – IGrowChicken, Hendrix Genetics, Schippers Export B.V, Transnational Agri, Nutreco Africa, with Solidaridad West Africa and AgriDEPOT being the local partners.
Beneficiaries will have access to quality but competitive day-old chicks, feed and hygiene products as well as training on best husbandry practices, farm management, agribusiness development, financial management and life skills.
The expectation is that challenges crippling the poultry industry such as skyrocketing feed prices, lack of quality inputs, abuse of antibiotics and poor linkages between input suppliers and marketers would be addressed.
Mr Isaac Gyamfi, the Regional Director, Solidaridad West Africa, speaking at the launch of the project in Kumasi, said the national demand for poultry meat alone was about 400,000 metric tonnes, with local production meeting only 14 per cent.
He said the importation of frozen chicken accounted for 45 per cent with the remainder recorded as the shortfall, adding that the share of imports in the domestic consumption of poultry meat had increased enormously, in the last decades.
“Reducing the dependency on imports and creating jobs in the Ghanaian poultry sector to improve our self-sufficiency is critical to national development, a campaign being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the Rearing for Food and Jobs Policy,” he pointed out.
He said Solidaridad’s long-standing experience in increasing access to finance to smallholder farmers through its Village Savings and Loans Association scheme coupled with their existing partnerships with key financial institutions in the country would ensure access to financial services was not a barrier for beneficiary farmers.
“Through the support of all stakeholders, we are going to demonstrate that if the needed investment is injected into the broiler industry through private and public sector partnerships, we can create a competitive and efficient poultry industry that creates employment for the teeming Ghanaian youth and improve the livelihoods of farmers,” he noted.
Mr Abdulai Abdul Rahman, Ag Policy Officer, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, said the Embassy considered Ghana’s poultry sector as an important strategic industry and would continue to provide the needed support to the sector, through its agribusiness unit by facilitating business linkages.
He said the Embassy was looking forward to a fruitful implementation of the project and expressed the hope that it would become a successful venture that would create decent jobs and increase the incomes of beneficiaries.
“Although being implemented on a relatively small scale, our goal is to establish a vertical system within the poultry business that promotes the integration of actors rather than independent business entities that have weak relationships with other industry actors,” he said.
By Yussif Ibrahim, GNA