The Director of the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Edwin Bekoe, has stated that the Ministry plans to reduce chicken imports by 70 percent by 2025.
Speaking in an interview, he said local meat production accounts for only 17 percent of the country’s meat requirement. Hence, Ghana imports $380 million worth of meat products each year.
This statistic, he said, is disheartening and thus an indictment of the country. Therefore, the government introduced and implemented the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) initiative, he added.
Mr. Bekoe said the RFJ policy enrolled in 2017 is focusing on addressing the challenges confronting the country’s livestock industry. He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to improving breed productivity and production, infrastructure development (housing, plant and equipment, slaughtering, processing, and marketing facilities). In addition, the government is committed to improving feed production, forage conservation, animal health, and disease control.
According to him, all these programmes are geared towards increasing the local production. In a similar vein, he stated that the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) program is enabling farmers to produce more animal feed. Thereby, compensating for seasonal feed shortages, both in quantity and quality.
Furthermore, Mr. Bekoe believes that, based on the success of the RFJ implementation so far, Ghana will be able to reduce chicken imports by 2025.
“Our target right now is that, by 2025, we would reduce the import of chicken by 70%. The structures are there and we have the people…”
“… For instance, PFJ especially the crop module has produced enough maize and soya to produce sufficient poultry feed.”Edwin Bekoe, Animal Production Directorate
Successes of Government’s Initiative
The 2021 Budget read to Parliament on Friday, March 12, 2021 indicated some successes of Government’s flagship programme.
According to budget, Government procured 531,100 improved breeds of small ruminants, pigs and poultry for distribution to farmers under RFJ. Also, the government increased the supply of improved seeds and fertilizers despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“…, the Ministry enhanced farmers’ access to production inputs and increased the planned beneficiary target of 1.2 million to 1.4 million. A total of 1,736,510 farmers benefited from subsidized fertilizers and improved seeds under PFJ programme.”2021 Budget Statement
About the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ)
Prez. Akufo-Addo, launched the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) campaign on 25th June 2019 in Wa in the Upper West Region. Specifically, the campaign will run for five years, from 2019 to 2023.
According to the President, “it will develop a competitive and more efficient livestock industry, that will increase domestic production, reduce importation of livestock products, contribute to employment creation, and improve livelihoods of livestock value chain actors”.