Poultry farmers in the northern part of the country have called on the government to subsidize poultry feed and other products in the sector in order to assist local poultry farmers to thrive.
The Northern Regional Chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association of Ghana, George Dassah, told the B&FT that government needs to quickly respond to the needs of the industry in order to prevent retardation of the sector’s growth. “Many have had their poultry businesses collapse due to lack of funding, infections as well lack market for the birds, especially in this pandemic,” he said.
Mr. Dassah also blamed the woes of the local industry on over-concentration on importing poultry products into the country, adding: “These imports are heavily subsidized by exporting countries and are virtually dumped in African countries”.
According to him, apart from the lack of political will by successive governments, high cost of credit, high cost of inputs, unbridled importation of frozen chicken due to trade liberalization, the incidence of some poultry diseases like the bird flu, are some of the several factors hampering growth and development of the poultry business in the North.
The current challenges confronting the sector have led to many poultry structures idling in the Northern part of the country, as most farmers have folded up due to high costs of input that have and are still adversely affecting the industry. The association calls for tailor-made credit facilities for poultry farmers, as well as incentives that encourage farmers to scale-up production.
The poultry industry is one of the fastest-growing agricultural sub-sectors, especially in developing countries. It is a multibillion-dollar industry that has the potential of contributing immensely to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries that take it seriously.
It makes a substantial contribution to food security and nutrition, providing energy, protein, and essential micro-nutrients to humans, with short production cycles and the ability to convert a wide range of agri-food by-products and wastes into meat and eggs edible by humans.
While the sector is usually seen as efficient in converting natural resources into edible products, it uses large amounts of land, water, and nutrients for the production of feed materials and contributes to climate change – mainly through feed production, air, and water pollution. The global poultry sector is expected to continue growing as demand for meat and eggs is driven by growing populations, rising incomes and urbanization. In this context, the sector is facing unprecedented challenges.
Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has confirmed that the World Bank has given the country up to US$430million in the fight against COVID-19.
Addressing the media during a visit by Vice President for the Western and Central Africa Region, Ousmane Diagana, to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra to inspect the rehabilitated fevers unit funded by them, Mr. Agyemang-Manu elaborated how the money has been dispensed.
“So far, we have received US$430million from the World Bank but we have not finished spending all that money. We have reserved some for the construction of infectious disease treatment centres across the country that will give us beds.
“And we have invested into 12 other units of health infrastructure as a basis for infectious diseases centres across the country. All the regions have got at least one, and we are working to complete these facilities in no time,” he noted.
“In the principle of leaving no one behind, we have to utilize the World Bank money to procure 20,000 wheel-chairs for distribution to the society of disabled people in Ghana, and the rest to various facilities. So, we tried to include everybody in the quest to fight the battle,” he said.
He then commended the World Bank for its continuous support to the country. especially in terms of healthcare delivery.
The health minister encouraged all to pat themselves on the back since Ghana is one of the two countries that got the COVID-19 emergency response right with the help of the World Bank.
“On the record, Ghana is known to be one of the two countries that got the COVID-19 emergency response right. Ghana did so well, but without support from the World Bank, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are. Our president was so committed, did so well; he pushed in investments, and the World Bank money came in at a very good time.”
Change in vaccination protocols
The health minister further indicated that the vaccination protocols have changed; hence, the country has started vaccinating pregnant women and children from the ages of 15 to 18 years. “We are now vaccinating pregnant women and younger people below 18 up to 15 years; so World Bank, we want to rely on you for continuous support and Ghana will never fail you.”
Mr. Agyeman-Manu revealed that the country currently has an about-10 million stock of vaccine doses, and is still expecting more through the bilateral relationship with COVAX and World Bank. He then added that more than 16 million Ghanaians have so far been fully vaccinated.