The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto has acknowledged that the cost of poultry production has gone up over the period.

He however indicated that this is due to factors beyond the control of the government.

He explained that the rising crude oil prices on the international market which is affecting local fuel prices. Chemicals for the production, he added, have also shot up.

He said these when he toured some selected commercial farms in the Eastern Region over the weekend monitored by TV3’s Eastern Regional Correspondent Yvonne Neequaye.

“When we met the poultry farmers, it is very obvious that prices of poultry feeds which make up 70 percent of the cost of production have gone up. If you compare prices this year in January, February, March, April and May, and compare to the same period in 2021, 2020, and 2019, the prices have shot up. They have shot up for the very simple reason that the chemicals have gone up two or three times and that means the cost of production has gone up on the farm.

“At the same time, fuel prices have trebled and it means that haulage from the farm gate to the centres of consumption has also gone up. So, these we don’t have control over, these are external factors that are impacting seriously the price formation.

“The thing is that because of that the cost of doing business in Agriculture has gone up and that is why poultry farmers, for instance, those who were doing 150,000 birds, have now reduced to 50,000 because their working capital cannot support the new higher prices. That is where the banks have failed us in agriculture, because the banks which are doing business with these poultry farmers should be able to give them credit to sustain their production at those levels or even increase it,” he said.

He added that “Unfortunately, the banks have stayed away and therefore they are having to reduce the level of production. Their interpretation had been that the government, in spite of all that is happening had done anything. [But] we took the trouble, more than one and half hours, to explain to them what the government is doing in trying to rectify the situation. After the explanation, it was obvious that they were very satisfied with the efforts we have made.

“We are making a whole lot of efforts to ensure that we bring in the commercial banks including the possibility of introducing legislation so that commercial banks would have to lend a portion of their portfolio to farmers and those in the value chain, the processers and others. We wouldn’t be the first country in the world to do that, India has been practicing that for 30 years.

“So definitely you are going to hear something in Parliament about this issue, as a way of making sure the commercial banks play their role because the government is playing its role by subsiding inputs and fertilizer, the banks should be able to lend to agriculture.”