The ‘broiler module’ of the Rearing for Food and Jobs, a flagship agriculture intervention programme is expected to be rolled out to increase poultry production and to reduce the huge import bill of imported poultry products.
According to the Director of Animal Production of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Edwin Bekoe, the first phase of the project will cover 2,000 farmers in Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Western, North West, Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Greater, Volta and Oti regions.
Information available to the Ghanaian Times indicates that all preparatory works, including generating data from the prospective farmers to verify their structures and expertise as well as the hatcheries, the pharmaceutical industries and the feed mills are all ready for the programme to be rolled out at the end of the month or early March.
We also gathered that the government is making available day-old chicks from local hatcheries and the medication at the subsidised rate of 50 per cent to the farmers.
We commend the government highly for this initiative and urge the poultry farmers to take advantage of the golden opportunity to produce the expected 40,000 tonnes of poultry products envisaged during the year to meet local demand.
Indeed, the farmers must count themselves lucky for this laudable initiative, as all the inputs are within their reach.
A very significant aspect of the initiative is the fact that marketing is not an issue as an off-taker is readily available to clear the hen coop to process them for the market, once they mature and ready for consumption.
Our understanding is that the poultry farmers only need to clean the hen coop and take delivery of subsequent inputs to continue the cycle expected to last five times yearly.
It is a fact that Ghana had the capacity to be self-sufficient in poultry production, and this programme will prove it if we all put our shoulder to the wheel.
After all, we were self-sufficient in poultry production in the 70s and the early 80s before we were overtaken by events.
Now the ball is right in the court of the farmers to step up production and restore Ghana’s lost glory in agriculture and animal husbandry.
It’s our firm conviction that this project is a lifeline for the poultry sub-sector that has suffered a decline for a very long time to thrive.
Our dependence on imported chickens should be a thing of the past. After all because we do not know the conditions under which the imported poultry products are being produced outside for our local consumption.
Infact the use of fattening hormones found in imported chickens that we consume has heightened concerns about rising cases of cardiovascular diseases in the country.
It is our firm belief that local poultry production would be done under strict hygienic conditions to meet public health standards.
Hopefully the implementers of the project, involving the MoFA and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, through the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies might have learnt enough lessons from similar programmes to ensure a smooth take off of the project.
The success of such a project largely depends on the ability of the farmer to apply the best practices from the extension services.
We urge the MoFA and its implementing partners to strengthen monitoring and evaluation to ensure that all goes according to plan, especially in the feeding and medication of the birds.
We laud the government for the initiative and express the hope that it would not be long that Ghana would regain its lost glory in the poultry sub-sector of the economy and produce enough to feed the nation and for exports.