Poultry farmers in the Central and Western regions have alleged that some unscrupulous poultry feed dealers have been selling unwholesome and adulterated fishmeal to them.
They contend that some of the dealers pour quantities of sand and saw dust into empty tins after which they lace the combination with fish meal for sale to unsuspecting farmers.
The farmers said that had been working adversely against their commitment to ensure the production of quality eggs, while it also took a long time for broilers to mature for sale.
The secretary of the Western Regional Poultry Farmers Association, Mr Napoleon Oduro Agyeman Oduro, who made the allegations in Takoradi, stressed that the adulteration had resulted in the shutting down of some poultry farms in the two regions since the farmers could hardly break even let alone reap normal profits.
He further explained that the result of the negative action by those dealers was that ideally, the lifespan of broilers was between six and eight weeks when they got the correct feed but when they were fed with unwholesome or adulterated feed it took them about 13 months to mature, thereby increasing cost to the farmer.
Battling with eradication
Mr Oduro also alleged that in some instances, some of the dealers would not mind drying fish which was going bad for the purpose of selling them to the innocent farmer, regardless of the consequences to his or her poultry farm.
He added that the dealers prepared any combinations in tins and sold them to the farmers and the evidence was there for members of the association to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.
"In fact, the poultry farmers in the Central and Western regions have been battling with the eradication of supply and sale of unwholesome fishmeal to the poultry industry in Ghana," the secretary said..
Consequently, he indicated that the association had been working with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), as a major player in the industry, to set the standards for the dealers to strictly follow in order to save the industry from imminent collapse.
He said that the GSA had agreed to set the standards while the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund was prepared to support the farmers in their attempts to correct the fraud.
Mr Oduro said a series of workshops and advocacy programmes had been jointly organised for the farmers by the GSA and the BUSAC Fund after the farmers produced evidence of their claim of being cheated by fishmeal dealers across the country.
Mr Oduro said at a recent stakeholders meeting in Takoradi, the farmers expressed their appreciation to the GSA for agreeing to set standards and appealed to the FDA as well as the other enforcement agencies to play their part in order to save the poultry industry from collapse.