A project aimed at boosting the production of quality livestock and creating a market for continuous supply of quality animals with high meat potentials has been launched at Bawku in the Upper East Region.
The project, which also seeks to build the capacity of farmers in the livestock value chain to access quality animal feed at a low cost would be implemented in the Bawku Municipality and Gushegu Municipality in the Northern Region by a consortium of four organizations and institutions.
The four are the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA), the lead implementer, the Department of Animal Science of the University for Development Studies (UDS), the Pong-Tamale Livestock Breeding Station and Livestock Dealers Association in Bawku.
The initiative under the support project for meat and livestock marketing in West Africa and Chad (PACBAO) is dubbed: “Intensification of quality slaughter animals in the northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana.”
The two-year US$200,000.00 project is under the auspices of the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) of the ECOWAS Commission and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Speaking at the launch at Bawku, Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, the Executive Director, GDCA, noted that the project would empower farmers in the livestock value chain including production, breeding and fattening as well as preparation of quality livestock feed.
This he said would ensure that the animals and meat produced and supplied to the market and the members of the public were healthy and of high quality, to increase market demand and create jobs for farmers.
“Secondly, we are looking at how we can support breeders with breeding stocks so that they can improve the stocks that they are holding and support farmers who want to take up the production and sale of fodder,” he said.
He said the potential of the livestock industry had over the years been neglected by stakeholders even though the sector had the tendency to create decent jobs, reduce poverty and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals if keen attention was given to it.
Mr Lukeman Yussif, the PACBAO Project Coordinator, said ECOWAS was making a paradigm shift from being ECOWAS of States to ECOWAS of the people to ensure that the impact of the policy interventions would be felt directly by the people.
The Project Coordinator noted that the two Municipalities had a comparative advantage in the production and sales of livestock than other areas and added that the project would develop the skills and knowledge of farmers in the livestock value chain to increase livestock production, breeding and feed production.
Mr Yussif indicated that the project would collaborative effectively with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Veterinary Service Department to ensure that the health of animals was guaranteed and free from diseases such as anthrax.
He said apart from the capacity building services to support farmers to turn farm residuals into quality forage to feed the animals and preserve water resources, the project would directly support 143 breeders with live animals including cattle and sheep.
Mr Charles Akwotie, the Bawku Municipal Director of the Department of Agriculture, lauded the initiative and said it would boost livestock production in the area, increase farmers income levels, increase household food security and help reduce poverty.