Without maize, my 150,000 birds will die - Poultry farmers cry over food and feed crisis

Without maize, my 150,000 birds will die - Poultry farmers cry over food and feed crisis
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com|Edwin Appiah|edwin.appiah@myjoyonline.com
Date: 10-05-2018 Time: 02:05:34:pm

Mr. David Kwabena Ampofo is an anxious poultry farmer. The price of maize is making it difficult to feed his hungry 150,000 birds.

In this business, maize constitutes more than 50% of feed for birds.  The rest of the meal is basically soya beans, fish and some vitamin additions.

If the price of maize keeps rising, his business will continue to sink.

"When your maize finishes all your birds will die," said the Chairman of the Brong Ahafo Regional Poultry Farms Association revealed.

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And so every day he counts ¢21,000 to buy 10 tonnes of maize-based feed. A 50kg bag of maize now cost ¢75. He needs 110 bags in stock for his 150,000 birds.

That's ¢75 X 110 = ¢8,250.

With exasperation, he told myjoyonline.com, this figure is the definition of a maize crisis.

Only April, he paid ¢4,950 for the same quantity of ¢45 per 50kg. But since the Resurrection was marked at Easter, the price has been rising.

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Polutry feed

"We are all crying," he told his tale, which he says affects 700 other poultry farmers in the regional branch of his Association.

This story in Brong Ahafo region is the national lament of 4,000 poultry farmers in the Association. There are several associations. But the freedom of association does not change the economy of maize prices.

After more than 15 years in the business, Mr. Ampofo says this maize crisis has been particularly hard on his business.

He has 70 workers. "I feed them and give them money everyday," he said. The poultry farmer said he has never had to lay any of them off.

But this crisis could change that, he expressed with worry.

The poultry farmers blame the crisis on the natural disaster called the Fall Armyworm invasion which destroyed 112,000 hectares by May 2017.

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, which happened last year and was a man-made problem said the Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto.

"This minister doesn't mind us...as for that minister he has not come to help the Akufo-Addo government", he said. He says he's given up on President Nana Akufo-Addo's childhood friend.

The poultry farmer would not bank his hopes on the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) where staple foods are bought from farmers and kept for a rainy day like this.

He said he has been told the maize left there is for the School Feeding Program.

Apparently, the crisis is also because man and birds depend on the same type of maize: white maize. "You know in this country, Banku sellers, Kenkey sellers and all those people use white maize," he said.

Poultry farmers say yellow maize is more preferable for the birds because it is responsible for the yellowish yolk.

But there is simply a lack of farmers who plant maize just to feed birds.

And so, the poultry and people eye white maize, hiking the price until a May 2018 scarcity leaves them both in a feed and food crisis.

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