US to export $50m worth of broiler meat to Ghana end of 2012

… as local production dies slowly

A total of 40,000 metric tons of broiler meat are expected to be imported into Ghana from the United States by the end of 2012, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has projected.

The Department’s value of the projected volume of poultry export is estimated at $50 million, according to a data presentation released by the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC).

In 2011, about 30,000 metric tons of broilers valued around $32 million were exported from the US to Ghana.

The least metric tons exported from the US into the country were about 2,000 with a value less than $5million, according to the USDA data.

As import of broilers from the US rise, local production of broiler in Ghana continues to dwindle as most farmers have shifted to the production of layers.

The import jump has been attributed to the level of broiler consumption in Ghana. Indeed official US data shows that Ghana consumes more broilers than it produces.

According to USDA figures, local broiler production has not risen up to 30,000 metric tons before since 2000 till date as the country’s consumption of the chicken has jumped from over 20,000 metric tons in the year 2000 to over 160,000 metric tons in 2011.

According to the USDA, broiler meat consumption in Ghana per capita stood at 6.8 kilogrammes (kg) in 2011 and over 7kg in 2012. It projected that the per capita consumption will increase to 7.5kg in 2013.

With the figures given by the USDA, it has now become clear that importation of chicken which is often seen as killing Ghana’s poultry industry is rather catering for the shortfall.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Kwadwo Asante, Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) told categorically that “we are against importation of chicken.”

He however, says looking at the level of local production currently in the country, banning the importation of chicken will not resolve the dwindling output.

He attributed the broiler problem to the high cost of feed and some production expenses.

“The imported chickens are cheaper than the local ones,” Mr Asante said.

He called for more investments into Ghana’s poultry industry.

By Ekow Quandzie

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