Support livestock sub-sector with subsidies—KIC Business Booster Programme participant

BY: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey & Maclean Kwofi
Mr Hisham Seidu making some barbeque
Mr Hisham Seidu making some barbeque

MR Hisham Seidu, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Seidag Limited, a livestock ranging company, has appealed to the government to expand its flagship agricultural programme, Planting for Food and Jobs to include livestock ranging in order to help grow that sub-sector of agriculture.

 While praising the government’s agricultural initiative, he said crop production alone should not be prioritised over livestock production under the new programme.

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“It is good to see initiatives such as Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) being implemented by the government.

But if the scope were expanded to include livestock farming with the provision of affordable feed, it will help grow the industry,” Mr Seidu, who has also set up the first ever large-scale intensive cattle feeding lot, told the Daily Graphic in Accra.


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The CEO of Seidag Ltd was sharing his experience after participating in the Business Booster Programme (BBP), an initiative from the Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC).

Livestock in perspective

Last year, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) showed that the livestock sub-sector’s contribution to the economy had been poor for over a decade.

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The highest it had contributed to GDP in the past 10 years was 2.1 per cent in 2008. The figure dropped to 2.0 per cent in both 2009 and 2010.

Since then, the livestock sub-sector has seen its contribution to GDP dwindle consistently to an all-time low figure of 1.1 per cent in 2017.

It is this trend that Seidag Limited is seeking to reverse with the construction of its feedlot that can feed 200 cows.
“The feedlot is a facility where we confine the cattle for special feeding in order to improve their beef quality and for them to gain some weight before they are slaughtered for the market.”

Some of the animals in the kraal

“Seidag also processes cattle on the feedlot which it sends to another subsidiary, Naama, located in Tema.

They then supply to a number of institutional clients in the hospitality industry such as the Best Western Premier Hotel, the Coconut Grove Hotel and educational institutions.”

Subsidies

According to Mr Seidu, expanding the PFJ programme to include subsidies on feed for livestock farming could be crucial to revive the sector.

“Provision of affordable feed is crucial to the growth of the industry because feed is one of the factors that contributes greatly to the cost of production,” he said.

He noted that the stunted growth of the sector had encouraged importation as the local industry had been unable to meet demand.

He argued that changes to the scope of PFJ would simply allow the local market to better compete with imported products.

“So, we expect the state to support us not only with subsidised feed but also breeder materials in order for us to compete with imports,” he added.

KIC Business

Booster Programme

The KIC is the flagship social investment programme of oil company Kosmos Energy. The KIC’s customised, best-in-class business support programmes feature a mix of skills training, mentorship and seed-funding to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The KIC focuses on training entrepreneurs and supporting start-ups to validate or refine their business models in order to scale up either organically or by attracting investors.

Mr Seidu said participating in the Business Booster Programme taught him to be diligent about his company's operations in ways that would help steer the business towards profitability.

“We learnt about the KIC initiative through the media. We applied and got enrolled into the programme through which our business was put through the programme’s magnifying lens to understand our challenges and how best to scale-up.

Some processed meat ready for the market

“So with the help of the programme, we now know the next step to take in order to scale-up. It will not only involve capital but also hard work.”

He explained that everything that he had learnt at the KIC had been put to use in his business, and had started yielding the desired results.The Seidag Limited is already having discussions with some investors.

Mr Seidu urged other entrepreneurs to consider taking part in the KIC programme to access support and resources to scale-up their operations in the country and beyond.

Recommendations

“The government should also try and emulate what the KIC is doing. It is not always that it needs to invest funds but the technical support is needed to grow smaller firms.

“So the government should find ways to provide cattle farmers for instance with quality affordable feed and improved breeds with the aim of encouraging confined livestock farming.”