“It is not about producing chicken, it is about processing, refrigeration, getting products to the market; it’s adding value for producers,”
Ms Krysta Harden, U.S Deputy Secretary for Agriculture, said the agreement will be implemented by ACDI/VOCA and the American Soybean Association (ASA) over a five-year period.
Addressing a press conference to announce the agreements in Accra Ms Harden said the United States through the Department of Agriculture will invest about $56 million into Ghana’s poultry sector.
She said the project would help Ghanaian farmers and producers to enhance their value chain for poultry.
Deputy Secretary Harden said her Department was proud of the relationship it had with the Ghanaian government, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the implementing organisations as well as other stakeholders.
She said the Department was keen on bringing all the expertise together to equip farmers to help themselves and the entire value chain.
“I hope this opens the door for more relationship building,” she said.
Deputy Secretary Harden is leading a delegation of leaders from the Departments of Agriculture of five states and 25 agriculture sector businesses from the US to Ghana.
The mission is to expand export opportunities for U.S food and agricultural products in the sub-Saharan African market.
Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the poultry industry was key to Ghana, with President Mahama launching a Broiler Revitalisation Project aimed at reinvigorating the poultry farming industry.
He noted that most people saw poultry farming as isolated business, hence the Food for Progress programme to integrate the industry with crop farming since feed needed for poultry are derived from crops such as soybeans.
He therefore encouraged farmers to open up to the new initiative in order to improve their work, saying, “We in the Ministry of Agriculture stand ready to work very closely with you to ensure we unleash the huge potential that exists in the poultry sector of this country.”
Mr Bill Polidoro of ACDI/VOCA said his outfit’s major focus would be to build synergies as well as working together and building trust, looking at developing and getting efficiencies in the feed market. He said although there were challenges, there were also opportunities that could be exploited.
Jim Hershey, Executive Director of World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) of the American Soybean Association, said it was important to note that the poultry value chain starts with farmers, who grow the soybeans, maize and others used for the feed
In light of this, the implementation of the ‘Assisting Management in the Poultry Layer Industry by Feed Improvement and Efficiency Strategy’ (AMPLIFIES Ghana) project by the ASA, will focus on three key areas: addressing post-harvest handling deficiencies and improving quality of feed and demonstrating to farmers on what using quality feed can do for them, and promoting the importance of poultry products such as eggs to the consumer.
Mr. J.F Beauchesne, Chief of Party for AMPLIFIES Ghana said the project will focus on the feed value chain covering Farmers or Producers, Aggregation Centres, Distribution Networks, Feed Milling and Processors as well as associations of actors in the value chain, such as the National Poultry Farmers Association.
The implementation, he said, will use a combination of approaches including capacity building, infrastructure support, studies to improve feed formula as well as community mobilization. He stated that preliminary studies had revealed some challenges such as inefficiencies in harvesting, post-harvesting and storage, and especially high cost of feed.
He said the project will help to develop and demonstrate a new feed formula which will help decrease cost.
Picture one shows Dep. Sec Krysta Harden addressing the trade mission.
Picture two shows Dep. Secretary Harden and Mr. Fiifi Kwetey, Minister of Food and Agriculture at the announcement of the agreements.
Picture three shows Mr. Fiifi Kwetey at the event