04.07.2006 Business & Finance

Min. Outdoors Plans To Boost Livestock Sector

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Meat and dairy products supplies in the country are to be increased from the current 30 per cent level to 80 per cent by 2015.

The current cattle population of 1.3 million heads is also expected to go up to 3.2 million, sheep from 2.9 million to 14.4 million, goats from 3.4 to 36.1 million, pigs from 31.000 to one million and poultry from 24. million to 89.2 million by the same time

Steps to achieve these objectivesare outlined in a policy document launched at Dodowa last Wednesday.

The document is to enhance acceleration of the livestock sector with a focus on poverty reduction in rural communities and reduction of poverty among food farmers from 59 per cent to 30 per cent.

It is also to highlight the contribution of livestock production to agriculture and rural development as well as problems and constraints facing the industry and how best to address them.

Launching the document here, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Anna Nyamekye, expressed concern about the level of livestock production in the country and said, that could be used as a tool to combat poverty and also help in sustainability of livelihoods.

She noted that the lack of a comprehensive livestock approaches had contributed immensely to the slow progress of livestock development in the country.

“Previous attempts that have been made at formulating livestock policies have not been holistic enough and aside breeding policy, national livestock policies have been scanty,” she added.

Agricultural policies in the country, she said, tended to have over-concentrated on crop production to the virtual exclusion of livestock, adding, “ this was perhaps due to the low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributed by the livestock sector as against the crop sector.”

The deputy minister noted that the low GDP by the livestock sector was as a result of the gross misrepresentation and under estimation of its contribution to the economy, adding that the current policy was prepared to reflect on the current socio-economic trend on the role of livestock in rural development.

Ms. Nyamekye reiterated the government's commitment to assist in the development of the livestock sector for it to enhance the development of the agricultural sector.

She urged all partners to adhere strictly to the implementation of the policy to enhance the development of the agricultural sector.

The Director of Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, K.A. Ankah, in his address pledged the department's commitment towards the improvement of the livestock sector in the country, adding that it would also ensure capacity building of its personnel to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.

The Director of the Veterinary Services Division, Dr. Agyin Frempong said that although policies were put in place in the previous years to guide the sector their implementation had not been the best.

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