Accra, June 26, GNA- The Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, has hinted that government will from next year, roll out a programme titled ‘Rearing for Food and Jobs’ to facilitate growth in the livestock industry.
He said the government would be taking the measure to ensure that the poultry industry became a vibrant one to meet the local demand for livestock and reduce importation in the industry.
Mr Afriyie-Akoto made this known on Tuesday, when the Ministry of Agriculture took its turn at the ‘Meet the Press’ organised by the Ministry of Information to explain the development in the sector to the public through the media.
The sector Minister noted that half of the annual demand for poultry – estimated at 232,000 metric tonnes – was imported, which needed some level of attention to reduce import and create more jobs.
He noted that productivity in the poultry sector was down largely because the cost of feeding was high, covering 80 per cent of the total production cost and the focus of the government’s flagship programme – Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) – included the intensity in the production of maize and soya, which served as the main ingredient of poultry.
He noted that the Ministry inaugurated Ghana Cattle Ranching Project Committee in July, last year to bring sanity among cattle farmers and the communities in which they operate, saying “Fulanis are a resource for us in this country’ since they produced a huge chunk of the meat citizens consumed. Mr Afriyie-Akoto said the ministry formed a transhumance committee in all regions to oversee the establishment of grazing reserves also known as fodder bank and feedlots at strategic locations.
He added that there was currently an on-going rehabilitation of four fodder banks of 250 hectares each at Kwahu Afram Plains North and South Districts with the one at Wawase nearing completion to serve as a pilot grazing reserve and 27 million local birds belonging to 42,000 households were last year vaccinated against Newcastle disease.
On PFJ, the sector Minister said its implementation had been extended to cover public senior high schools, public tertiary institutions, religious bodies, traditional bodies, urban communities and national securities.
Mr Afriyie-Akoto noted that the PFJ policy in 2017, created jobs for 745,000 individuals along the agriculture value chain with 14,000 in input distribution, 3,000 in extension, 715,000 in production, 10,000 in post-harvest and processing, as well as 3,000 in marketing.
He said the PFJ policy had been confronted with inadequate storage space for seeds, fertilizer, and grain at the regional and district offices and this year, MoFA and the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives budgeted to construct 80 warehouses of 1000metric tonnes storage capacity each.
The Minister urged the youth to take advantage of the numerous interventions the government was making in the industry and tap into the opportunities.