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Business News of Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Source: B&FT

Poultry farmers face triad of challenges

…as yellow maize shortage escalates prices

Shortage of yellow maize has hit farmers in the Brong Ahafo Region, pushing up the price of the commodity by almost twice in four months, B&FT has gathered.

The commodity is a major input to poultry feed composite and its scarcity is now a worry to commercial poultry dealers.

About four months ago, a 50kg mini bag of yellow maize was sold at GH¢40 in the region, but the current price of the same quantity is hovering around GH¢75, indicating a sharp price increase of about 87.5%.

The disappointing domestic production of yellow maize has forced poultry farmers to rely on imports, particularly from Cote d’Ivoire, at exorbitant cost or substitute it with white maize.

So most of the farmers, the prevailing market price coupled with other challenges in the trade has become inimical to the survival of many farms.

In an interview with B&FT, Daniel Acquah, a Dormaa-Ahenkro based farmer said: “I have dispatched two tipper trucks to Cote d’Ivoire in search of yellow maize, but I have not received any good news of getting some anytime soon. I’m really distressed about the situation, and should it persist, we all will be compelled to shut down our farms.”

He noted that the swelling cost of production has inflated the prices of poultry products especially eggs, thereby negatively affecting sales. The situation, he stressed is really getting out of hand and demands holistic measures to save the poultry industry.

Checks by B&FT have established that poor rainfall pattern, especially in the middle and northern belts of the country are the major cause of the declining production of yellow maize, leading to its shortage. Many farmers also in the Brong Ahafo Region have had their monies locked up with embattled microfinance institutions and financial fun clubs, hence their inability to cultivate.

The poultry farmer passionately appealed to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to find innovative way to address the perennial shortage of yellow maize. “If government is really committed to developing the poultry industry, then it must not see importation of the commodity as the long-tern solution to the situation, which is a bane of the industry,” he said.