“Assist Us With Funds, Reduce Importation” - Poultry Farmer Calls On Government
The Ashanti Regional Poultry Farmers Association is calling on Government to assist them with some funds to help boost their local industry and also reduce prices on importation.
According to the Association, it has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic adding that it has had a negative effect not only in the Ashanti Region but almost all the egg producers in the country.
Speaking in an interview, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Poultry Association, Boris Baidoo said “If you look at the way hotels are being closed down and the way schools are closed which is not the doing of anybody, but of course the situation that we find ourselves in has called for it just to save lives. We have a lot of things that we need to talk about and that is, for instance, look at the poultry farming sector, we have a lot of eggs now standing. Look at what is happening in our industry, the industry was beginning to thrive. Covid-19 has spoilt so many plans”.
He added that before the Covid-19, the industry used to have about 53 workers, but has now been reduced to 21.
He also explained he has not received any assistance from any bank to support his huge farm.
“How can I continue to be taking care of people when I am losing? Even the Bank will advise you to take off some of them and so I feel it is pathetic. I am a mother. I am not comfortable sacking them. I don’t sack my workers like that but this covid-19 has forced us to do that” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oserby Unique Ventures Farms at Kubease, in the Juaben District, Mrs. Harriet Roberta Osei revealed that she was compelled to lay off more than 60% of her workers due to the impact of coronavirus.
“Every day, my feed cost alone for the birds is about eighteen thousand Ghana Cedi’s, so you can imagine and these eggs were locked down. They were stuck in the room and no customer was coming for them. We were just giving some out like gifts and we were giving some to the pigs but still, we were still having some here and we had no one to buy them. Finally, when the lock-down was lifted, customers were now complaining that our eggs were spoilt, and up till now, we have no facility, we have no help from any bank” she said.
The poultry farmers say they feel the covid-19 has brought an opportunity for the country to strengthen its local poultry industry and increase job opportunities.
The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Poultry Association, Boris Baidoo revealed that the farmers cannot use the commercial rate to do farming.
He said “It is not possible. Now you go to the Bank and as a farmer, you are given probably 26 percent or 25 percent. That is not realistic as against somebody who is having 1 percent, 2 percent or 3 percent maximum abroad. That is the reason why they can ship goods down to us. The Minister of finance Ken Ofori-Atta is doing very well, but Ken I would say that please let’s have some sort of modification or amendment in our policies whereby Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance can sit down on a common platform, let’s brainstorm and see what is best for our country”
He appealed to the Bank of Ghana to amend some of its policies for the banks to be able to lend monies to persons in Agriculture, so at least we can get some food security so that we can also produce more.
“Government should help us. Our poultry value chain is very long and when you feed the bird, it creates more jobs or businesses for other people- feeding, processing and a whole lot. So if government should come to our aid. Government will have some peace of mind since we will help employ more people which will reduce the unemployment rate in the country,” Harriet indicated.
The Association says it also calling on inverters to invest in the local poultry farming, adding that it will be grateful if there is an open market for exportation.
“This is the time we need a strong collaboration between the local poultry farmers and the importers, so that at least import substitution would come in so that we can grow the chicken for them here gradually in phases to phase it off. We cannot start it all at once. But I keep saying we need to start something now,” Boris Baidoo added.
Story by: Magdalene Maame Abena Serwaa Asante