Ghana: Livestock Industry Set to Improve Significantly - - President Akufo-Addo

press release

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday launched the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) Campaign at Wa, in the Upper West Region, which is targeted at increasing domestic production of livestock, as well as, reduce the importation of livestock products into the country.

The campaign, which is a module under the government's flagship programme - "Planting for Food and Jobs", is expected to begin from 2019 to 2023.

According to the President, the campaign will develop a competitive and more efficient livestock industry that will improve livelihoods of livestock value chain actors, as well as contribute to employment creation.

President Akufo-Addo deplored the decline of the country's livestock sector, which had largely been attributed to the high cost of production, as well as, the importation of cheap livestock and its products, pushing most livestock producers out of business.

Ghana imports $400 million worth of meat products annually and local meat production accounts for only 19% of the country's meat requirements. President Akufo-Addo said these grim statistics are an indictment on the country, and that is why success has to be made of the Rearing for Food and Jobs campaign.

Towards addressing the challenges confronting the country's livestock industry, the President said, RFJ would focus its attention on breed improvement, productivity and production, development of infrastructure (housing, plant and equipment, slaughtering, processing and marketing facilities), feed production and conservation of forage, animal health and disease control, development of communal grazing lands, commercialisation of livestock production and entrepreneurship development and application of e-agriculture in livestock production.

"By design, the campaign will cover selected value chains in the livestock sector namely, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry chicken and guinea fowl," he added.

Six breeding farms are currently in operation, as opposed to 28 in 1993, hence, the President said, "the breeding stations that were closed down at Wawase in the Eastern Region, Wulugu in the North East Region, Doba in the Upper East Region, Busa in the Upper West Region, and Wenchi in the Bono Region, are being revived."

Furthermore, he indicated that, under the RFJ programme, the Wawase cattle ranch, currently in operation in Afram Plains, which is accommodating some 3,000 cattle would be replicated in regions that experience farmer-herdsmen conflicts or serve as corridors for the transhumance.

"In the five-year period of the RFJ campaign, it is projected that 40,500 small ruminants, mainly sheep and goats, 38,000 pigs, 258,000 cockerels, and over 660,000 guinea fowls, will be distributed to livestock farmers and would-be farmers, throughout the country," President Akufo-Addo said.

He continued, "3,000 cattle farmers will benefit from a programme of artificial insemination to increase average meat production. These planned interventions are indicative of the important attention now being given to the livestock sector after years of neglect."

Farmers, who receive sheep or goat shall pay back in kind, with two offsprings per adult breeder supplied and farmers, who receive breeding pigs, shall pay back in kind with three piglets for each breeding pig supplied.

Cockerels will be supplied to farmers at 50% of the market value. Day-old chicks and guinea fowl keets will be supplied at 50% subsidy to farmers, with farm capacity not exceeding 2,000 birds. Cattle farmers shall benefit from subsidised imported semen to improve the meat and milk performance of their cattle.

To address the seasonal inadequacy of feed, both in quantity and quality, the RFJ campaign will develop low-tech ways of transforming millions of tons of crop waste into millions of tons of high-quality animal feed, with potential to create an industry worth millions of cedis a year and create thousands of jobs in Ghana.

"To achieve this, the government will procure and subsidise forage harvesting, bailing machines and equipment to enable livestock farmers to conserve enough crop residue for dry season feeding of animals. Maize and soybean production, which are already being given the necessary support under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, will provide enough feed for the poultry at lower than usual cost," President Akufo-Addo added.

Whilst acknowledging that poor disease control could jeopardise the contribution of the livestock sector to food security, employment creation, and general economic development for both Ghana, the President indicated that the disease control and surveillance component of RFJ will pay heed to control the transmission of animal diseases, study of diseases, development of vaccines, as well as capacity building for technical expertise, and specialised skills to improve the preparedness for dealing with the challenges of outbreaks.

Also, the enhancement of the Pong Tamale Veterinary Training College, the Disease Investigation Farms in Techiman and Savelugu, and the Disease Diagnostic Laboratories in Accra, Tamale and Kumasi, will be undertaken as a matter of urgent priority.

The introduction of e-agriculture, in the RFJ campaign, the President said, would give actors of the livestock value chain access to comprehensive and up-to-date information on livestock production, market prices, disease outbreaks, farm management techniques and practices, and, above all, traceability in the livestock production sector.

President Akufo-Addo tasked the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to ensure rapid information flow to the citizenry on how they can access the facilities pertaining to the RFJ campaign.

"There should be effective and extensive dissemination of information on modalities of implementation of the RFJ campaign right after the launch to ensure the needed and expected participation of citizens. When that is done, the objectives of the campaign will be achieved, and the expected dividends from the government's investment realised," the President stressed.

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