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09.09.2005 Business & Finance

Poultry Board inaugurated to help reverse decline


Accra, Sept. 9, GNA - Mr. Ernest A. Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Friday inaugurated a poultry board that would help reverse the decline of the poultry industry and revamp and stimulate growth.

President John Agyekum Kufuor constituted the 11-member board for the specific purpose of getting quick results or seeing dramatic improvement in the activities and operations of the industry. Mr Kwabena Darko, a prominent poultry farmer, is the chairman of the board.

Mr Debrah noted that the poultry industry, which saw a significant development in the 1960s shortly after the establishment of a state-owned hatchery in Accra, experienced a decline in the 1980s as a result of unfavourable policies compounded by a weak cedi.

He said currently the industry was characterised by low capitalisation, leading to inefficiency in production and high feeding cost.

Mr Debrah said in the face of these challenges the industry had to retake its enviable position in the livestock industry if the country was to improve the appalling record of animal protein deficiency and reduce poverty among the rural poor.

This is because poultry is an excellent source of protein and a day-old chick could be ready for table in about eight weeks. He said the members were carefully selected to reflect the cream of industry players and stakeholders with rich experience and could therefore bring their expertise to bear on the industry. Mr Debrah said specific objectives had been spelt out to guide the board. These include, growth, modernization and sustainability of the industry, ensuring adequate and continuous supplies of essential feed ingredients, quality day old chicks and veterinary medicaments, vaccines and diagnostic equipment and reagents.

The board is to establish procedures for hatchery practices and quality control of day-old chicks and feeds and promote rigorous modernization of the industry. Another objective is the production of processed poultry products to meet culinary demands for the citizens, tourists and export.

The Board is also expected to establish procedures for regulating the industry and monitoring chicks' placement with the view to avoiding seasonal gluts or shortage of eggs and chickens.

Mr Debrah said the primary focus of the board should be to provide technical, managerial, professional, legal and financial guidance to the poultry industry.

"We have situations where public boards have veered off from their focus or the objectives for which the Board was established and rather concentrate on what they could benefit from the board.

"Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past; we should focus on what we have been mandated to do and work diligently and honestly towards the development of the poultry industry in Ghana." Mr Debrah appealed to them to take stock of local poultry farmers in the rural areas and help them to improve their businesses, especially guinea fowl farmers.

Mr Darko said the industry had gone through trying times over the years and gave the assurance that members would work as a team towards achieving their goals.

He said it was their hope and prayer that whatever findings the board came up with would be accepted by the ministry and government and then implemented.

Mrs Anna Nyamekye, Deputy Minister, Food and Agriculture in-charge of livestock, assured the board that government would accept their findings with the hope that they would be useful for the industry and urged financial institutions to assist.

Other members are Mr Kofi A. Agyei-Henaku of Ghana National Council on Poultry, Mr Ben O. Quaye, Ghana Feedmillers Association, Mr Kofi Adu Mensah, Chief Operation Officer of Ghana Financial Services, Mr Ahima, former National Best Farmer, and Nana Kwabena Owusu Afari, Managing Director of Afariwa Farms. The rest are Dr Joseph Awuni, Veterinary Services Department of MOFA, Mr Ken Quartey, President of Ghana Association of Poultry Farmers, Dr K.G. Aning Director, Animal Research Institute, Mr Nicholas Oteng, General Manager of Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) and Mrs Agnes Owusu Sekyere, schedule officer for Livestock, ADB.