Poultry farmers in Ghana are encouraging locals to consume poultry products produced locally.
They are targeting to takeover 60 percent market share of the country’s total poultry consumption.
Currently, Ghanaians consume only 10% of local poultry as compared to the more patronized foreign products which make up 90% of total consumption.
The poultry farmers claim the move has become increasingly necessary following reported cases of COVID-19 infected poultry meat from Brazil.
Brazil is a major foreign supplier of poultry products to Ghana.
Some international media outlets have reported that Dourados, located in Mato Grosso do Sul, is the second BRF plant that China has suspended since the coronavirus allegedly began affecting Brazilian meat plants.
BRF, Brazil’s biggest chicken exporter, said in a statement on July 29, 2020, that it was not formally notified of the suspension, but learned of it via a publication on China’s Customs website.
Reuters on August 14, 2020, reported that the Philippines also imposed a temporary ban on poultry meat imports from Brazil after two cities in China allegedly found traces of the new coronavirus in cargoes of imported frozen food, including chicken wings from the South American country.
Shenzhen city authorities according to Reuters identified the chicken as originating from a plant owned by Aurora, Brazil’s third-largest poultry and pork exporter.
In Ghana, poultry consumption is dominated by chicken.
Poultry imports have remained high due to increasing demand and the decline in domestic commercial poultry meat production.
Ghana’s poultry imports come from the United States, Brazil and the EU with supplies from the United States capturing over 40 percent of market share, while European countries and Brazil have 25 percent each of the market share.
President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association Michael, Nyarko Ampem, in an interview with Citi Business News asked government to invest in the sector to enable local poultry farmers increase their market share from the current ten percent to sixty percent.
Though they have been advocating for such a move in recent times, he believes it has become more necessary amidst the devastating effects of COVID-19 on Brazil.
“There should be some form of reduction to maybe forty percent then local production will be sixty percent. It is important that we must always be mindful of the fact that there is COVID-19 around, however, we should not panic that there is COVID in the meat.”
“Again since March we have realized that there has been an increase in the consumption of local poultry, so if we continue with the consumption of local poultry then we don’t have to be worried about foreign imports.”
“Although WHO has ruled out animal to human transfer of COVID-19, I understand the concern people will have and so local poultry consumption is safe”.
There is no doubt that consumption patterns for poultry of households in urban areas in Ghana are heavily weighted towards imported frozen poultry products.
The reasons for this trend are that the imported ones are cheaper than locally produced poultry and it is already pre-cut into parts like the leg quarters and wings, processed whole chicken and gizzards.
As such, the convenience of a ready to use chicken product has boosted consumer demand.
Michael Nyarko Ampem subsequently called on local producers to invest in packaging their poultry products into portions as a way of meeting the needs of consumers in the country.