New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential hopeful, Kwabena Adjei Agyepong, over the weekend won the 2023 Ghana Chicken Festival competition and called on the government to invest more in the poultry sector.

He said Ghana had huge potential in the poultry value chain and that the lack of adequate investment in local production had been its bane, with the country spending $600 million dollars on imports annually.

“We all know that the value chain of this sector can absorb the teeming youth. We spend about $600 million every year, and this is a business opportunity for Ghana,” Mr Agyepong said.

He said this at the commemoration of the Ghana Chicken Day and the 2023 Ghana Chicken Festival organised by Agrihouse Foundation and in collaboration with Boris BS Chicken, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Ghana National Egg Campaign Secretariat.

Mr Agyepong called on the State to support made in Ghana products to grow the local economy.

“The capital cost, production cost and feed cost must be greatly reduced for poultry farmers to increase production. We need initiatives to produce high-quality feed locally,” he said.

Mr Agyepong called on cold stores and entities in the poultry supply chain to prioritise local poultry products, adding that local poultry was healthier for consumption.

He was adjudged the overall best chef in the 2023 Ghana Chicken Festival cooking contest where he prepared stewed plantain with chicken.

This year’s Ghana Chicken Festival, which took place at the Forecourt of Parliament, was themed: “The Role of Poultry to Human Health and Economic Drive”, with the aim of using leaders of institutions and decision-makers as influencers in promoting the poultry industry.

Miss Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Chief Executive Officer, of Agrihouse Foundation, said the goal of the yearly event was to drive a strong advocacy to increase consumption of local poultry to grow the economy.

“Importation is on the rise because the industry does not meet demands and so with our advocacy drive, we believe that we can whip up interest in local production and change the mindset in the next three years,” she said.

Ms Akyaa Akosa urged policy and decision-makers to quickly address the gaps in the sector and requested that July 1 be officially declared as Ghana Poultry Day.

Mr Yaw Frimpong, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said: “Gov’t is bringing out Planting for Food and Jobs chapter two where the focus is on eleven selected crops and poultry. It is a five-year programme and by the third year, Ghana should be self-sufficient in poultry.”

“Everybody who is interested in poultry will be assisted. Soya and maize are the main ingredients for the industry. And we are going to increase their production to push the prices of these crops down so that everyone can become a poultry farmer,” he said.