Poultry farmers in the Ashanti region say the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country is a mixture of good and bad news for the poultry industry.
According to them, the pandemic had brought opportunities and challenges to the industry, and so there was the need for urgent government intervention to enable farmers take advantage of the opportunities to sustain the industry.
Mr Boris Baidoo, Chairman of the Ashanti Regional Poultry Farmers Association told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Kumasi, that the outbreak of the pandemic and its' subsequent effects on imports of foreign goods into the country, had brought onto the fore, the need for all Ghanaians to support local production to feed the nation.
He said though local poultry production and consumption had increased due to the outbreak of the virus, the industry was still not benefiting from the windfall, because the hospitality industry, which had been the major consumer of poultry products in the country, had been out of business.
Mr Baidoo who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Boris B. Farm said the high cost of production, coupled with high interest rates from the banks, was not helping the local poultry industry to boost production to meet local demands.
He said there was the need for government to ride on the pandemic and put concrete and pragmatic policies in place to support local industries to increase production and consumption of local products to help reduce imports.
Mr Baidoo said the local industries had great potential to compete with foreign imports.
He said what they needed was access to soft credit facilities to help grow and expand to create jobs and boost production.
He commended the government for introducing the Rearing for Food and Jobs, to revive the poultry industry and stressed the need to reduce interest on loans to enable many farmers take advantage of the initiative to increase production.
Mrs. Harriet Roberta Osei, CEO of Oserby Unique Ventures Farms at Kubease, in the Juaben District, told the Ghana News Agency that the outbreak of the virus had forced many farms to lay off workers.
She said though, people were now turning to the consumption of local birds, the closure of hotels, restaurants, drinking spots and other entertainment places was affecting sales.