Gov’t ponders tighter laws to curb poultry imports

poultry120909The Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, Dr. Hanna Bissiw, has charged stakeholders validating the draft legislation on animal health and production in the country to include legal portions that will check the import of live poultry and poultry products into the country.

She advised that the final bill must also include inputs that will set the standard for poultry processing plants, which hatchery operators will have to comply with in order to sanitise their operations and increase production capacity.

Speaking at a validation workshop to seek stakeholder inputs into the draft animal production and health legislation in Accra, she said properly-managed hatcheries will curb the increased mortality rate of day-old chicks, which is a major challenge facing poultry farmers in the country and leads to over-dependence on poultry imports.

“Stakeholders validating this draft legislations on animal health and production must ensure that the final bill on animal production and health will have portions that regulate the importation of live poultry and poultry products into the country, as well as standard-setting for poultry processing plants and enforcing strict adherence.

“Legislation governing the proper management of hatcheries will help poultry farmers to meet the demand of quality day-old chicks which has been a major constraint in the poultry industry, resulting in a situation where poultry farmers prefer to import instead of buying locally produced day-old chicks.

“We should take advantage of this draft legislation to improve our hatcheries that produce quality day-old chicks, as well as feed-mills to produce quality feed for the poultry industry,” she said.

Currently, the country consumes an average of 225,000 metric tonnes of meat annually and domestic production constitutes only 30 percent, while poultry imports alone constitute 80 percent of the total meat imports.

Government, acting through the MoFA in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF), has rolled-out the Ghana Broiler Revitalisation Project to curb the increased dependence on poultry imports and also boost local capacity in the production, processing and marketing of broiler chickens.

The project targets producing 30,000 metric tonnes of broiler meat this year, with an expected increase to 60,000 metric tonnes by the year 2016.

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