Business News of Saturday, 2 June 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Guinea Fowl Industry Soars

The guinea fowl industry in the north is facing some major constraints which are inhibiting the growth of the industry.

In recent times, the meat of this white-spotted black-feathered bird, which is dark, dry and has a pleasant flavour, has been in high demand due to the increasing awareness about its taste and nutrition.

However, the overwhelming increase in demand for this meat has not been met with a corresponding increase in supply due to challenges facing producers.

It is to for this reason that a meeting was organised for players in the guinea fowl industry in the three northern regions to discuss the ills of the industry and brainstorm on ways of boosting the sector.

The meeting, held in Tamale over the weekend, was organised as part of the implementation of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), an eight-year agricultural project under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Development Fund (AfDB).

Some of the participants told the Graphic Business that the bane of the guinea fowl industry was the lack of support in the area of equipment, feeds, medication and other inputs.

“Guinea fowl production is seasonal. The production season is between April to October, so when there is no adequate support, we are unable to produce much to meet the demand,” Mr Issifu Basideen, Managing Director of Anibirds Farms, stated.

He said guinea fowl production was an expensive venture because it required not only resources, but much knowledge and skill about handling the birds.

Mr Abdullah Mohammed, a guinea fowl farmer and dealer at the Aboabo market, told this paper that many of the guinea fowls die before their maturity due to various kinds of diseases.

“The villagers are complaining that the birds, especially the young ones, die very often and so they are losing interest in this business,” he said, and entreated the government to help provide medication for these diseases.

An executive member of the Northern Region Guinea Fowl Farmers Association (NORGFA), Mr Sayyid Alhassan therefore stressed the need for the government to support guinea fowl production through the provision of inputs, extension services, equipment and research.

“We need robust hatcheries to help in the hatching and breeding of guinea fowls for the three northern regions,” he said, and also called for the creation of a feed meal to produce feed for guinea fowl and livestock.

According to the Value-Chain Specialist of the NRGP, Mr Pascal Dere, the meeting was to enable players in the industry, including farmers and NGOs, to discuss the successes and failure of past and ongoing interventions in the guinea fowl sector and to determine how the NRGP could intervene to revive the sector.

“The guinea fowl value chain is one of the commodity value chains earmarked for promotion by the NRGP,” he mentioned, and mentioned the German International Co-operation (GIZ), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the International Centre for Empowerment and Development (ICED) as some of the organisations that had implemented programmes in the three northern regions to support the guinea fowl industry.

Nutrition experts claim that the meat of the guinea fowl is rich in various nutrients, including protein, vitamins and fatty acids. It is also said to be low in cholesterol and therefore safer for consumption.