GSAP partners government to improve livestock production
He also commended the Society, which is made up of professional animal scientists, for its readiness to partner government to find a sustainable solution to the annual menace caused by the influx of nomadic headsmen (Fulani) and their livestock.
The step, he said, would not only provide job opportunities for the citizenry, but also help to close the protein deficiency gap that currently exists.
It will also help reduce malnutrition and other health challenges associated with poor diets.
Dr Alhassan was addressing participants at the opening of GSAP’s 18th Biennial Conference, which was held in Accra on Thursday, on the theme: “Leveraging Private-Public Partnership for Improved Livestock Production.”
The four-day conference, which is being attended by professional animal scientists from Ghana and Nigeria as well as other stakeholders, would set the stage for knowledge sharing and strategise on sustainable ways of improving livestock production through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and improved technology.
Dr Alhassan said it is obvious that the government alone cannot ensure sustainable livestock production and to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) without inputs from the private sector.
Therefore, PPP in agriculture has become the engine for improving livestock production, and the Ministry would support organisations such as GSAP, to help farmers and other stakeholders of the industry to understand, appreciate and adopt new approaches of boosting animal production.
He said the Ministry would support initiatives that bring together the private and public sectors to discuss and implement opportunities to improve livestock production.
He said Ghana’s ability to attain the MDGs in agriculture hinges directly on increased livestock and poultry production, hence the need to leverage PPP for improved livestock production to meet current and future needs.
The Deputy Minister stated that leveraging PPP should make available the necessary resources to support the animal industry, particularly small to medium scale farmers who are in the majority, to improve on the productivity of their enterprises.
Such a partnership would ensure that animals could produce to the full genetic potential and build a strong conduit for transforming Ghana’s livestock production sector from a low productivity subsistence-based, to one characterised by sustainable high productivity.
Dr Alhassan urged GSAP members who are serving on Ghana’s National Consultative Committee on Animal Genetic Resources, an advisory body, on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action on Animal Genetic Resources in Ghana, to develop relevant policy frameworks for the sustainable use of animal genetic resources.
He also appealed to GSAP to ensure regular knowledge sharing with other stakeholders, including Ministry of Food and Agriculture in order to unlock the potential of the livestock sub-sector in contributing significantly to food security and poverty reduction in Ghana.
They must work towards the realisation of an all-encompassing piece of legislation that would help Parliament in its decisions on the request and needs of the various sectors under the agricultural sector.
Mr Michael Asamani-Adem, President of GSAP, said although Ghana’s livestock production sector contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product and protein needs of the country, it has failed to receive the needed attention, making the sector unattractive to local and foreign investors over the years.
He said the conference, therefore, seeks to revitalise the sector by encouraging the private sector to make use of public facilities and infrastructure to inject more capital into the livestock sector to ensure food security and development.
Professor Cheikh Ly, Africa Regional Animal Production Officer of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, highlighted challenges such as unfavourable trade barriers, inefficiency, poor technology transfer, low purchasing power of small scale producers, as well as limited capital availability for small, medium and commercial livestock farming.