THIS year’s winner of the Best Agro Company Award of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG), Alhaji Abdul Salam Akate, says a ban on the importation of poultry products is not the solution to the failing local poultry industry.
Reacting to calls from certain quarters for a ban on imported poultry products as a way of reviving local production, Alhaji Akate said “banning the importation of poultry per se cannot save the local industry if the problem of high cost of domestic production is not resolved”.
Alhaji Akate, who is also the 2007 National Best Farmer, said high cost of poultry feed, especially maize and high cost of borrowing from the banks had put the industry under serious threat and only “drastic measures” from the government could bring some sanity into the system.
Alhaji Akate is the managing director of Akate Farms in Kumasi, which was declared the best agro company in the country at the weekend’s CIMG awards at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra.
In a chat with the Daily Graphic in Kumasi on Monday, Alhaji Akate acknowledged that the price of maize had fallen from last year’s peak of GH¢90 and currently selling on the market at GH¢70, but he described that as still high, adding that the cost of soya and groundnuts had risen astronomically.
“One may argue that last year around this time maize sold at GH¢90, but the fact is that the current price is still on the high side,” he said.
Alhaji Akate further indicated that as a result of the high interest rate, poultry farmers could hardly borrow to improve their operations.
He pointed out that Ghana had the potential to produce maize and store in abundance for the lean season as a way of cutting down the cost of the produce, yet successive governments had done virtually nothing to get the system going.
“Growing maize is not like going to space, which we cannot do,” he said, and expressed regret that after 52 years of independence, Ghana could not find answers to problems about food security.
“If we improve the system through reduced cost of feed and the cost of borrowing, our products would be sold at prices that are competitive.
Alhaji Akate noted that the award his company won at the CIMG awards had once again reminded him that there was reward in hard work.