Chicken & Egg Affair: Why Ghana's poultry industry is slowly dying

Ghana consumes approximately 300,000 metric tonnes of imported poultry meat annually. 5% of this is produced locally with 95% supplemented by imports from the Netherlands, Brazil, USA and other markets at a value of nearly US$400m. According to the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAP), there has been little investment in the poultry value chain by government and private sector players, spanning from hatcheries, feed mills, processing facilities to cold chain facilities.

Production levels are low

According to GNAP, in-country facilities are inadequate to meet current demand. Local hatcheries can only produce 5% of 300,000 mt capacity, whilst the poultry feed milling capacity in the country is at 12%. There exists only one commercial poultry abattoir in Ghana slaughtering 9000 birds per day. The largest commercial chicken farm in Ghana has a capacity of 500,000 birds. Despite these various capacity challenges, there exist opportunities for investors looking into this sector.

Broiler production in Ghana is low: 15% local production; 85% supplemented by imports. The Ministry also intimated that the Ghanaian government has initiated the Rearing for Food & Jobs programme to supplement the national demand. This initiative was to increase broiler production and stop reliance on poultry importation. The programme looks to help support investors in the poultry value chain to produce over 162 million broilers and over 350 million guinea fowls within a space of 5 years to stem imports. However, serious bottlenecks exist in the realization of this dream with frequent maize and soya bean shortages in the country. These two crops are essential raw materials to produce poultry feed in-country and these shortages lead farmers to purchase at high prices making local broilers expensive. Currently, local production cannot compete with cheaper foreign imports.

Government's conundrum

The Government of Ghana says it has instituted the 40/60 ratio system, an imposition on importers by the government for granting import licenses, to stimulate local production. Importers under this ratio system are supposed to procure 40% of their poultry meat needs from local farmers while 60% is supplemented by imports. Unfortunately, due to expensive local broilers, Ghanaian importers are unwilling to adhere to this directive.

Government on its part cannot ban frozen poultry meat imports currently but is willing to take this bold step in imposing import restrictions on poultry products once local industry players show the willingness to invest and supply the demand in the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture is calling for investors to collaborate with local producers to help improve the efficiency of the poultry value chain. They are looking to institute pilot projects for broiler production in the value chain- feed, cost of day old chicks, vaccinations, programmes to improve production efficiency.


Opportunity areas for investments include setting up large scale production farms; slaughtering, meat processing, haulage and cold storage facilities; revamping of existing hatcheries, feed mills and breeder farms; establishment of new hatcheries, feed mills and breeder farms to augment existing capacities. Though Ghana’s local poultry industry is overshadowed by foreign imports, there exist opportunities for investors willing to capture a share of this $ 400 million market share with the right local partnerships and technologies.

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