Mr. Mohammed Hardi Tuferu, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in charge of Livestock, says the government has exhibited commitment to improving the livestock sector through the implementation of policies and programmes.
He cited such programmes to include the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) programme, the Savannah Investment Programme (SIP), and the strengthening of the human resource capacity of the sector through the recruitment of veterinary officers.
Mr. Tuferu, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nanton, said this in Wa, on Wednesday during a durbar of actors in the livestock value chain and some beneficiaries of the government’s interventions.
He was in the region to, among other things, get first-hand information on the state of the livestock sector in the region, and the challenges therein as well as to inform the industry players of the government’s interventions in the sector.
The Deputy Minister also commissioned a livestock market in Wa to help provide a ready market for livestock as it would bring the livestock farmers and dealers together on a common platform to interact.
Mr. Tuferu observed that the government had earmarked to recruit 1100 veterinary officers by the end of 2024 with the 550 officers recruited while plans were far advanced to recruit the remaining 550 within the next two years.
He said they would also be supported with the necessary coordination such as means of transport to enable them to work effectively.
“We have COVID-19 and Ukrainian-Russian war having a significant impact on government budget. We have so many challenges because we must deal with Free SHS (Senior High School), we must deal with Planting for Food and Jobs, and a lot of issues to be addressed by the same president.
“In all these troubles, government didn’t say I have done my part (in the livestock sector) let me stop,” he observed and encouraged the people to take advantage of government’s efforts to venture into the sector to benefit from it.
Mr Tuferu said the government had approved GHȻ44 million to pay compensation to poultry farmers who had their birds destroyed by bird fluid.
He said a total of 280 farms in 12 regions had their birds numbering about one million destroyed by the bird fluid.
Mr. Emanuel Sasu Yeboah, the Upper West Regional Director of Agriculture, stated that there was an ongoing programme to construct a livestock corridor from Burkina Faso through the region to the southern sector as part of efforts to promote livestock farming.
“There will be water drinking points, livestock markets, pastures, and veterinary posts along the corridor”, he explained.
Some of the farmers raised concerns about the excessive importation of frozen chicken, and the inflated cost of poultry feeds and vaccines among others as some factors crippling the livestock sector in the region.
Madam Nurain Asheeqah, a beneficiary of the SIP beneficiary programme, commended the government for the intervention, which is impacting their lives as women.
She appealed to the government to train them in feed formulation to help cut down the cost of buying feed for their birds, as well as to link them to credit institutions, where they could access affordable loans to support their activities.
Representatives of butchers, Fulani herders, cattle and poultry farmers, and some beneficiaries of SIP and the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) among others attended the durbar.