As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on businesses that largely rely on imported products due to disruptions in the global supply chain, some local businesses usually overwhelmed by competition from imported products are making some gains.
Players in Ghana’s poultry industry, which is struggling for attention due to over-reliance on imported chicken, say they’ve witnessed an increase in demand for local poultry, due to limited importation. They however want government support to boost production.
In recent times, some poultry farmers have complained about low patronage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly during the period of the three-week partial lock-down.
Some egg sellers in the Bono Region complained about their products wasting away due to low patronage.
Already, the local poultry industry has been stifled by imported products, which contributes nearly 90% of poultry consumed in Ghana.
Limited government support, and challenges such as the high cost of feed among others, limits the capacity of local farmers to meet national demand.
While government has indicated its commitment to increase local poultry production and eventually ban importation by the year 2023, poultry farmers have consistently called for the right support to achieve this objective.
International news agency, Reuters, reports that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on workers at U.S. meat and poultry processing facilities, with more than 17,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 100 deaths in April and May, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This has affected the export of poultry from the US to countries like Ghana, one of its major export markets.
According to the President of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, Michael Nyarko-Ampem, there has been a slight increase in the consumption of local poultry products due to this situation.
“Fortunately, we are getting orders from restaurants and various eateries. Also, markets are functioning so our poultry is gaining momentum. People are beginning to appreciate the local poultry more compared to the imported ones. This is due to the Covid-19 scare and the low importation of the product. Business has improved tremendously” he said.
He however says they would require government support to boost production to meet the growing demand if the pandemic continues for a while longer.
“We do not have enough day old chicks which is a major challenge for us. The market has been created, but the day-old chicks to fill that space is not there. We hope government will find a way to bring in day-old chicks to keep our industry running” he said.