Ministry for Food and Agriculture , MP Abetifi

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has started supplying 4.5 million day-old chicks to anchor farmers and their outgrowers.

They will also receive vaccines and starter-pack feed to augment the production of an additional 13,200 metric tonnes of poultry meat by the end of this year.

Dr. Bryan Acheampong, the sector Minister, said the intervention was expected to move Ghana’s poultry production self-sufficiency from five per cent to seven per cent by the end of 2023.

Speaking at the Presidential Conference on Youth in Agriculture, in Accra, he said in the five-year plan of the second phase of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), the country was focusing on ramping up the poultry sector.

The rate of self-sufficiency is projected to further move from seven per cent by the end of this year to 13 per cent in 2024, and progressively attain full self-sufficiency of 110.6 per cent by 2028.

The government would next year, therefore, support farmers with some 18 million day-old chicks, vaccines and starter-pack feed for the production of 42,600 metric tonnes of meat, Dr. Acheampong said.

Plans, he said, were also advanced to revive the poultry industry this year through the rehabilitation of 300 outgrown poultry farms across the country over the next 12 months.

“Each of these farms can be scaled to produce 200,000 birds within each poultry cycle of four months. This trajectory will continue until we reach full self-sufficiency,” the Minister assured.

The Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP) is an initiative with the objective of motivating the youth to accept and appreciate farming and food production as a commercial venture – taking up farming as a life time vocation.

The Conference, which had the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the guest of honour, discussed the new direction for prosecuting the YIAP agenda for a rapid transformation of one of Ghana’s most important sectors of the economy.

The Programme, being spearheaded by MoFA and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), envisages accelerated production of enough food crops, meat and fish using modern agronomic practices and methods.

It is designed to improve the standard of living of the Ghanaian farmer, and motivate the youth to stay in rural areas as inputs will be delivered at their farm gate – on credit basis and interest free.

The long-term plan is to significantly address youth unemployment by inspiring as many youth as possible to embrace farming and related activities along the value chain.

In 2020, a World Bank report titled, “Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation”, identified agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports as key sectors that could offer increased employment opportunities for the Ghanaian youth.

The report suggests that although these are not new areas, the government could maximise their impact by scaling up these priority areas in existing youth employment interventions and improve outreach to the youth.

Dr. Acheampong pointed out that as a first priority, the YIAP sought to ensure that the country became food secured within the planned implementation period.

Other related objectives are, job creation, particularly for the teeming youth of the country, reducing food price inflation, building food systems resilience, and promoting import substitution and exports.

The Minister said there was compelling evidence of an ageing farmer population in the country – which must be addressed to facilitate sustainability in agricultural production.

The average age of a farmer in Ghana is 55 years, while life expectancy averages between 55 – 60 years.

Meanwhile, the Government has affirmed its resolve to support distressed farmers in the flood-stricken communities in the Volta Region, following the recent spillage from the Akosombo and Kpong dams.

The assistance would be drawn from the Food Systems Resilience Project Funds to help restore agricultural production in those areas, Dr. Acheampong stated.