Challenges of the poultry industry in Ghana
Globally the poultry industry continues to contribute to the world economy in various ways. In developed economies it enhances their GDP profiles and provides high revenue from exports, whereas in developing economies it provides a source of livelihood and protein for food.
In Ghana the demand for poultry products as a source of protein has increased steadily over the last three decades and will continue over the next 34 years.
This demand is partly due to significant factors like; increase in urban population growth rates, increasing average per capita income of urban dwellers leading to better purchasing power and increasing per capita meat consumption triggered by a shift in eating patterns from home cooking to fast foods that have chicken almost always as the meat of choice.
Most eateries in Greater Accra also find chicken as the most convenient and affordable meat of choice for preparing both continental and local dishes.
The United Nations (UN) population prospects (medium variant) corroborates the influence of these factors on demand for poultry meat, in that, it projects a global population growth rate of 34 percent to increase the world’s population to 9.1 billion by 2050 with a significant increase in absolute growth projected at 120 percent.
This is to take place in urban arears of developing countries thereby increasing the world’s urban populations to over 70 percent of the world’s population by 2050. This is predicted to occur with income levels rising to many multiples of what currently pertains today.
In the same period UN population prospects projects global per capita meat consumption to rise from 41kg to 52kg with a corresponding rise from an average of 30kg to 44kg for that of developing countries.
Thus Ghana should be poised to implement favourable policies that will take advantage of these factors to improve on the local poultry industry’s market share, majority of its farmers have small and medium scale farms.
Other factors that influence the development of the poultry industry include technical knowledge, as science and technology evolves, availability of natural resources including water and solar energy as well as the management of trade barriers.
Findings of survey
A field survey conducted in the western sector to the Greater Accra Region which is noted for poultry production was used to solicit information about the challenges faced by poultry farmers, the influence of the challenges on their production and the extent to which the challenges can be addressed to positively affect the prospects of the industry. The focus of the field survey was on commercial poultry farmers.
The distribution and location of farms were as follows; Weija 16.1 percent; Kasoa, 14.5 percent; Dansoman and Adenta, representing 9.7 percent each; Mallam; 8.2 percent; Frafraha/Amrahia and Achimota 6.5 percent each, Afienya, Gbawe, Tantra Hill and Pokuasi 4.8 percent each respectively; Abeka Lapaz, Laterbiokoshi and Roman Ridge, representing 3.2 percent each respectively.
The farmers were randomly picked from a finite population of registered poultry farmers of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, using the simple random method of sampling without consideration of the location of their farms.
According to the demographic profile of the poultry farmers; 87.1 percent of the farmers were male while 12.9 percent were female. 59.6 percentof them ranged between the ages of 30 to 60 years, 24.2 percent were above 60 years and 16.1 percent were between 18 and 30 years of age.
All the farmers were educated, 37.1percent, 30.6 percent and 32.3 percent represented tertiary, middle level and basic education holders respectively. Also 77.4 percent of the farmers with a maximum of 5,000 bird capacity were full time farmers deriving their main source livelihoods from the business while 22.6 percent with bird capacity less than 1,000 had other occupation as their main source of livelihood.
Size of commercial poultry production in Ghana are categorized as large scale for farms holding between 5,001-10,000 birds and above, medium scale farms for bird capacity of between 1,001-5,000 birds and small scale farms for less than 1,000 bird capacity (USDA GAIN Report, 2013).
Twenty-three percent of the farmers were exclusively broiler farmers whereas 76.5 percent held commercial layers and produced broilers during festive occasions.
The survey showed that during festive occasions such as Christmas (especially), Easter, Muslim and Traditional festivals, demand for broilers, spent hens and poultry products are high and far exceed supply as consumers developed special preference for local poultry and poultry products particularly live broilers and eggs.
However, as soon as the festive periods were over, demand for such products particularly broilers, declined and as a result of that most farmers tend to concentrate on table egg production than broiler production.
According to the farmers, it was more economically sustainable to produce table eggs to maintain a regular income than raising broilers whose patrons seldom pay cash thus indirectly compelling the poultry farmers to pre-finance the patron’s businesses, hence the shift to table egg production.
This fact was also observed by Arku (2013), that local broiler production in Ghana, which is under 10 per cent of the total local demand for chicken meat, is done mostly to satisfy demand during festivities (Christmas, Easter, Ramadan etc.).