Chicken Soup Rides High Despite Ebola

SUGUNA_POULTRY__8981fAlthough the scare of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has affected the patronage of   bush meat, the same cannot be said of chicken,   beef, and other animal products.

Players in the cold store industry say the Ebola scourge has not affected the sale of such products.

A visit by The Ghanaian Times to some cold stores in the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra, revealed that the outbreak of the Ebola disease in some parts of West Africa, had not affected the consumption of   meat in the Accra metropolis.

Our reporters observed in most of the cold stores visited that customers were trooping in to buy their meat products.

Mr George Ladzro, a   meat seller at Makola, told The Ghanaian Times that the Ebola disease had not affected his sales.

He said although business was generally low due to the current economic hardship, “patronage of chicken and other meat products was relatively high”.

According to him, there had not been any significant change in the preference of his customers since the outbreak of the disease.

“My clients who have a great taste for meat continue to buy meat, and those who prefer fish continue to buy fish,” he said.

Mr Okey Chris, the Managing Director of G.Rock Cold Store at Makola, which deals in chicken parts and other fish products, said that sales of chicken “were not bad”.

He said sales generally in recent times were bad due to the skyrocketing of prices of meat and fish products, saying, “a box of chicken which used to cost GH¢300 two years ago at Tema Fishing Harbour, currently sells at GH¢950.’’

“Customers are cutting down on their meat purchases due to the increasing prices of meat products and not because of the Ebola disease,” he said, adding, “Customers who used to buy two boxes of chicken, currently buy one and a half in order not to outspend their budget”.

He appealed to the government to intervene to reduce the taxes on fish products to bring down the cost of fish to keep the cold store industry intact.

Some of the traders in bush meat who spoke to The Ghanaian Times complained of low sales and said their businesses were collapsing.

For almost one-hour that this reporter spent with some of the bush meat dealers in the “Kwasia Dwaso” in the Makola Number One Market in the CBD, no customer came to buy bush meat.

Madam Yaa Agyeiwaa, a bush meat dealer said following the outbreak of the Ebola disease, sales of bush meat had been very bad.

Madam Agyeiwaa, who has been in the bush meat trade for almost thirty years, said formerly she could sell 20-dressed grasscutters in a day, but now “I cannot even sell one a day”.

Adwoa Asiedu, a trader in bush meat, said during weekends and festive occasions sales are very good, but said “The same cannot be said today,” following the outbreak of the disease.

She said the whole of last week, she did not come to the market because her meat products were not being patronised.

Madam Asiedu wondered why the tag on bush meat by health experts that it can cause Ebola, saying, “Hitherto Ghanaians have been consuming bush meat and have not had any problems”.

Madam Yaa Kesewaa who also spoke to this reporter said, the collapse of the bush meat business would have serious repercussions on the hundreds of operators who ply the bush meat trade to eke out a living.

According to her, the last straw which destroyed their business was when the then Minister of Health, Ms. Sherry Ayittey, announced that one could contract the Ebola disease through the eating of bush meat.

She therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Health to retract that statement to build confidence in the citizens to consume bush meat.

By Kingsley Asare

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