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Local poultry demand goes up due to closure of imports amidst COVID-19

Players in Ghana’s poultry industry, which is struggling for attention due to over-reliance on imported chicken, say they’ve witnessed an increase in demand for local poultry, due to limited importation amidst COVID-19.

Recently, some poultry farmers have complained about low patronage due to the pandemic, particularly during the period of the three-week partial lock-down.

The local poultry industry is said to have been stifled by imported products, which contributes nearly 90% of poultry consumed in Ghana posing a threat to the local poultry farmer.

However, the local farmer is not able to meet national demand due to limited government support, and challenges such as the high cost of feed among others.

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Government has indicated in its poultry farm production policy its commitment to ban the importation of exotic poultry product to make way for the local farmer to thrive on the local market by 2023.

The international news agency, Reuters, reports that the Coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on workers at U.S. meat and poultry processing facilities, with more than 17,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 100 deaths in April and May, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This has affected the export of poultry from the US to countries like Ghana, one of its major export markets.

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President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, Michael Nyarko-Ampem, has indicated that there has been a slight increase in the consumption of local poultry products due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

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“Fortunately, we are getting orders from restaurants and various eateries. Also, markets are functioning so our poultry is gaining momentum. People are beginning to appreciate the local poultry more compared to the imported ones. This is due to the Covid-19 scare and the low importation of the product. The business has improved tremendously” he said.

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However, he stated that they want government support to boost production and produce more of the local poultry product amidst COVID-19.

“We do not have enough day old chicks which are a major challenge for us. The market has been created, but the day-old chicks to fill that space is not there. We hope the government will find a way to bring in day-old chicks to keep our industry running” he said.

Meanwhile, the Government is yet to issue a directive on how it is planning to support the poultry production sector amidst COVID-19.

By Amos Ekow Coffie | talksafrica.com

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