Dr Emmanuel Allegye-Cudjoe, the Chief Veterinary Officer, has called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and commercial crop farmers to produce more cereals to reduce the costs of poultry feeds to make the industry more productive.
“As we have identified, the main challenges affecting the poultry industry are cost of feed and inputs, and diseases that afflict them, hence there is the need to produce more to reduce these costs,” he said.
Dr Allegye-Cudjoe made the call at the launch of the new Africa Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement Plus (ALPHA+) initiative in Accra.
The initiative is co-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the ‘Innovative Animal Health Modules for Livestock Small-Scale Producers in Sub-Saharan Africa.’
The launch brought together industry professionals, businesses, cooperatives and regulatory officials among others to network and discuss pressing issues facing the poultry industry in Ghana.
Dr Allegye-Cudjoe said the industry was the most significant sector in the livestock sector and was equally the most fragile as far as diseases and the cost of feed and inputs were concerned.
“So, today’s roundtable is for us in the animal health space to deliberate on how we can tackle diseases, market dynamics and input supply that affects the industry,” he added.
He called for support for farmers and encouragement to ‘do the right thing’, when it came to biosafety and biosecurity, vaccination and proper medication of the livestock.
“We know that when farmers do their own thing, engage in indiscriminate or irrational use of antimicrobials, it could create safety and health issues for the public,” he said.
Poultry farmers must have access to credit and go through training to enable them to practice all the husbandry and disease prevention control measures that would help keep their livestock healthy and safe, he noted.
Dr Gabriel Varga, Regional Director of Zoetis Africa, a leading animal health company, said the company covered all areas of animal health from genetics products, tools and research, and disease prevention.
The A.L.P.H.A.+ initiative was a co-investment between Zoetis and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to invest about USD15 million in support of products and services, diagnostics and technical training.
Within the time frame of the project, the company would look at the products, which best fitted Ghana, as “it is not the same product that fits all countries,” he said.
Dr Varga said the meeting would also enable them to know some needs of the poultry industry in Ghana and to invest resources to help the sector.
“And the third thing is to make sure that we do it in a sustainable way, because it is not a donation or subsidies of stuff, we want to build businesses together with our distributor and also the farmers,” he added.