Ghana: Poultry farmers unhappy budget review did not address scarcity of feed

The failure of the Finance Minister to address the recent shortage of poultry feed in the mid-year budget review has come as a shock to the Poultry Farmers’ Association.

Poultry farmers in the country are still struggling to find feed for their birds, and they were expecting the Finance Minister to announce government’s plans to salvage the situation using the budget review.

Unfortunately, this did not happen, and these farmers are now uncertain about the future of their industry.

In the just-ended mid-year budget review presentation, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced the government’s plans to modernize the agriculture sector by investing in initiatives that would improve production and productivity in the rice, poultry, soybean, and tomato sub-sectors this year.

The President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers’ Association, Michael Nyarko-Ampem, in reacting to this announcement lamented the lack of detail and timelines for this projection, and the failure of the government to address the looming shortage of poultry feed for their birds.

“They stated that they’ve consulted the value chain, and so they are putting in place measures to ensure that maize and poultry production goes up, but the details of it were not stated. Which percentage are these projections supposed to go up and when? They could have said maybe we are moving from 1.6 million tonnes that we had last year to maybe 1.9 million tonnes.”

“They should have given some details so that there’ll be some reassurance. But in the interim where things have run out, how do we ensure that we have food security? I was a bit disappointed,” he lamented.

Mr. Nyarko-Ampem then reiterated earlier calls to the government to help provide some solutions to the challenge to save the poultry industry.

“There’s a shortage of maize, wheat bran and soya. The prices are high and farms are shutting down. I was thinking that a situation like this would be mentioned and highlighted. It was not done, but we are still asking that the government looks at it because it’s dire. Between October and December is the peak period, so if we don’t do something about it, we are going to suffer a great loss in those months.”

Poultry farmers across the country currently are faced with scarcity and high cost of maize and other ingredients needed for feed production.

In June 2020, a 50kg bag of maize was selling for GHS65. Fast Forward to November 2020, the price for the same commodity shot up to GHS100 and in June 2021, the same commodity at the same weight is being sold for GHS130.

According to a study on the poultry feed sector in Ghana by the International Food Policy Research Institute, maize accounted for 60 percent of poultry feed. Thus, its availability and price have implications for the profitability and growth potential of the industry.

Since the latter part of 2020, these distressed poultry farmers have bemoaned the development and are warning of the collapse of their industry should the problem continue to linger.

The situation, sadly, has gotten worse over time, forcing many of them to sell off their dying birds to foreign countries at relatively cheaper prices in order not to run at a complete loss.

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