Consumers of poultry and its related products may have to revise their budget this festive season as producers anticipate an increase in the prices of poultry products.
These producers of poultry in some parts of the country attribute it to the increase in the price of poultry feed which in some areas has even become scarce.
A visit by Citi Business News to some poultry farms show that some farmers are even selling off their birds due to the shortage of poultry feed.
CEO of FedAfrique farms, Ernest Lartey tells Citi Business News, the 2020 target of the company which was to breed 100,000 birds, cannot be achieved due to shortage and scarcity of poultry feed.
FedAfrique Farms is a poultry farm located uphill at Asesseso in the Okere District of the Eastern Region.
“FedAfrique began 2 years ago on the 50-acre land, and it is currently operating with 80,000 birds. We have over 35 workers. We responded to the call to duty for youth in agricultural farming. We are currently set up for 80,000 capacity of layers, and we were hoping to even increase productivity but due to the current challenges we are having with feed, we would have to scale back and see how things pan out before we move further. Currently, we don’t have feed to feed our birds. All the ingredients we use to manufacture feeds are in short supply. There is no maize, soya or wheat brand. And the few that is around is been sold at high prices,” he said.
Tetteh Dziedzorm who also operates a 60,000 bird poultry farm, Bobvidkids farms, also at Asesseso is also rationing feed for his birds.
“We have about 60,000 birds on the farm, and we have about 35 few time workers. Just recently, procuring raw materials has become very challenging. We are in the south, and we are procuring maize all the way from Wa, Tamale, just because we don’t have any around. So it’s been very stressful. Things keep increasing,” he said.
These challenges are not peculiar to large scale poultry farmers but small scale farmers are also feeling the heat.
A 50kg bag of maize which was sold on the market for GHS58 two months ago is now being sold for twice the amount.
The same goes for wheat and soya which are the most important commodities for these poultry farmers.
Although the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, on several platforms, has reiterated a bumper stock of maize due to its flagship programs carried out over the years, these farmers do not think same.
“Maize has gone from GHS58 to a GHS105 for a 50kg bag. Soya has gone from a GHS140 to GHS180 per bag. Wheat bran which we used to buy at GHS18 is now at GHS24 to GHS25 per the 25 kg and this is costing us,” Ernest Lartey lamented.
“This is the major maize season so, and we are expecting the price of maize to go down. On the contrary, we are having an increase in prices day in and day out. I bought it last week at GHS95 per 50 kilogram but this week it is selling for GHS110. We don’t understand why. In times past, when there is a scarcity of maize, government imports some but this time around we don’t know what is happening and that is what is affecting us. We are not able to break even to sell our produce so that we can stay in the business,” Paul Brunya, a farmer in Ashiaman also lamented.
The situation according to these farmers has become dire and some have already begun selling off their birds.
“With the exception of the increment of maize, you don’t even get to buy some. So, I am deciding to sell about 2000 of my birds so that I can manage the remaining 1000 for a while,” Abedi Richmond, a poultry farmer noted.
“This situation is across the country. We have customers from Bandai, Wrawra, Ashaiman and Somanya. We also employ over 35 on this farm and with this labour force, we don’t know what to do if this situation persists. So we are selling off some of our birds. We might also have to lay some people off just to keep the budget going,” Mr. Lartey said.
For these farmers, the only option to help them stay in business, provide support for their workers and family is for government to open the borders and allow the importation of that critical commodity they need to feed the birds.