General News of Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Source: GNA

Mahama pledges adequate funding to poultry farmers

President John Dramani Mahama has promised to work out adequate funding and credit facilities for poultry farmers throughout the country to make Ghana a net exporter of poultry products in the coming years.

He said the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDAIF) were rolling out measures that would adequately support poultry and other farmers to increase production and make Ghana self-sufficient.

President Mahama made this promise when he visited Akate Farms, the largest poultry farm in Ghana at Bososre in the Kwabre East district, as part of his three-day official visit to the Ashanti Region.

Akate Farms, which has branches in Wamase and Akyaese both in the Ashanti region, has 200,000 birds and produces 9,000 crates of eggs a day, with a hatchery that produces 80,000 chicks per day.

The farm, which has a workforce of 500, also produces 5,000 day old guinea fowls, 100 tons of feed per day, and has external markets in Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.

In his state of the nation address early this year, President Mahama expressed worry about the high importation of poultry, tomatoes, oil, rice and other major commodities that Ghana has a comparative advantage to produce.

In a bid to reduce that, President Mahama said a reduction in the imports of chicken and poultry feeds would help in the stabilization of the cedi, and promised to do everything under his powers to provide sufficient support to the farmers to achieve that goal.

He said he was impressed with Akate Farms that had been able to survive in the face of stiff competition from importers, adding, “If we have our own companies that are performing well like Akate farms, why can’t we support them to survive”?

Hannah Bissiw, a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, in charge of Livestock, said her outfit was working out a modality to compel importers to purchase 30 percent of their products from local companies.

She added that the provision of permits for the importation of chicken and poultry feeds would be hinged on that condition to provide ready markets for local companies.

Alhaji Abdul Sallam Akate, Chief Executive officer of Akate Farms, commended President Mahama for taking the initiative to visit his farms.

He appealed to government to subsidize electricity tariffs and access roads to enhance their effective performance.