Opinion Piece written by: Osmond E. Datsomor and Louis-Opoku Mensah
The Government of Ghana (GOG), according to Dr. Gyiele Nurah – Minister of State at the Presidency in charge of Food and Agriculture has instituted a “ban” on the importation of frozen carcass into the country. He said this at the 2nd Poultry Value Chain (POVAC) fair held in Sunyani. This policy direction is to help revive the struggling local poultry industry to create jobs and also give an opportunity for local producers to meet the protein nutritional demands of populace.
This policy direction is exemplary and meritorious, however, there still remains a lot of key questions that remains unanswered as such setting the local poultry producers on a path to fiasco.
This policy direction statement is more of a general or descriptive statement with no supporting empirical statistics hence very misleading. The pronouncement and its subsequent publication should have addressed other short term and long term critical challenges which the productivity and sustainability of the poultry agriculture industry hinges on and these includes:
¬ Quantities of frozen poultry carcass currently into the country
¬ Quantities of deficit created via the importation “ban”
¬ Quantities expected to be meet by local poultry producers as a result of this said “ban” etc.
More problematic is the fact that the publication says ban in quotes “ban” which is highly suspicious and ambiguous as in the nature of the ban remains unknown i.e. is the “ban” a complete total ban or incomplete partial ban.
Furthermore, the statement includes the clause “government would revert this ban if local poultry producers don’t meet the demand” which questions government commitment to the success of its own initiative as apart from the “ban” on imported frozen poultry carcass, there are equally a whole lot of production and market challenges local producers are confronted with on a daily basis.
A few of such challenges include:
- High cost of feed ingredient
- High cost of day old chick (DOC)
- Inadequate loan facilities
- Volatility of carcass prices on the market
- Poultry insurance policy etc.
- Poor breeding stock
In light of the few listed challenges above, the GOG, should have gone beyond such proposal “lip service” by practically stating intervention (short or long term) which local poultry producers can take advantage of in an attempt to solve the above challenges so as to increase productivity of a sustainable nature.
In summary although this is a very good policy directive on “paper” practically it is highly not sustainable given the long-term nature of the poultry business hence the chance of GOG reverting the said “ban” which the local poultry producers would be blamed for is 99% likely.
- Statistics should be provided in support of current and future pronouncement
- Long-term and short-term interventions should be stated explicitly etc.
In conclusion, until various stakeholders in the livestock poultry industry start asking the right and relevant questions, sustainable productivity of the sector would continue to be an illusion.
Writers: Osmond E. Datsomor and Louis-Opoku Mensah (Bsc agriculture; Mphil Animal Science)
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