Over 400 poultry farms in the country have had to shut down operations due to multiple reasons – including high production costs mainly driven by the price of raw materials and feed costs, the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) has indicated.

Other reasons such as the prevailing interest rate, surge in chicken imports, bird flu and cost of labour have been mentioned by the association as key drivers of the industry’s collapse.

“The current situation is dire, and our farmers are losing millions through the closure of their farms. We are at the emergency level now. As it stands, 70 percent of existing farms nationwide are empty,” Victor Oppong Adjei, President of the GNAPF, told the B&FT.

He said calls for authorities to relook and strategise for a stronger poultry sector are yielding little results, as the cost of raw materials, feed, labour and land tenure, among others, keep impacting the industry negatively.

Meanwhile, the importation of poultry products (frozen chicken) is on the rise due to continuous demand in the local market.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that Ghana’s poultry imports have reached 360,000 metric tonnes in 2021 from 295,196 tonnes in 2020 and 258,997 tonnes in 2019. However, domestic production hovers at around only 60,000 tonnes. Current annual poultry imports have reached more than US$200million, with the amount projected to reach more than US$ 1 billion in the next five years according to the Finance Ministry.

Data from the Day-Old Chicks Importers Association show that the importation of day-old chickens has reduced by over 50 percent, with most farmers downsizing their farms by almost 60 percent due to the cost of importation – hence rendering most farms empty.

Data from the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association (GAPFA) indicate that chick starter feed which currently sells at a cost of GH¢188 has increased by more than 40 percent in the last seven months.

Comparatively, the price of maize which constitutes about 80 percent of chicken feed has been increasing rapidly. A 50kg bag of maize currently sells for GH¢165; while it was sold for GH¢105 at beginning of the year,

The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana (CAG) has equally expressed worry over how its members who are poultry farmers have been closing down at an alarming rate. “One of our affiliates in the last few months closed down its 20,000-bird capacity farm at Domaa, and the impact of that loss has been very dire on the company,” CAG’s CEO, Selorm Morrison, confirmed to the B&FT.

He said if the current situation continues, Ghana may end up importing eggs from neighbouring countries, particularly Ivory Coast. The poultry value chain, which comprises farmers, transporters, egg traders, veterinarians and feed producers among several others, employs more than five million people.

Source: Business and Financial Times