Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, a Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, on Saturday gave the assurance that government would use all legitimate means to discourage the importation of frozen meat in the country.
He said: “First, we shall empower the local poultry farmers by providing cheaper feeds to enable them to step up their production and secondly to implement both tariffs and non-tariffs means to make their products competitive in the domestic market.”
Dr Tia who gave the assurance in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, said government had increased investment in the production of corn and soya beans for supply to poultry farmers.
“The Vision of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the poultry and livestock industry is to reduce our dependence on the importation of poultry and livestock products by stepping up local production.”
The Deputy Minister said Ghana had over the years become the dumping ground for imported chicken and beef, and with government’s intervention programmes it would become convenient and cheaper for domestic consumers than their dependence on imported substitutes.
“Government has invested a lot in mechanization and expansion of production of grains and cereals and has stabilized the prices of animal feed ingredients for sometime now.”
Dr Tia expressed regret that despite Africa’s advancement, consumption of meat and protein foods was low due to high cost of the products on the continent.
He said that “Recent statistics indicate that the per capita consumption of meat for sub-saharan Africa is 13 kilogrammes per person per year, in comparison with 83 kilogrammes per person per year for North America.”
Dr Tia appealed to financial institutions to support the farmers to become financially independent to enable them to increase production for local and external consumption.
He said government would not ban the importation of frozen meat as that would contravene the rules and conditions of international trade, but would rather create a congenial atmosphere for local farmers to capture the West African sub-regional market with comparatively low-price wholesome meat.