The Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) of the Ministry of Food and Agricultural (MoFA) is advising poultry farmers to embark on proper farming practices to reduce production cost in the country.
Dr Anthony Akunzule, the Deputy Director of the Veterinary Service, indicated that in order for people in the poultry farming business to be successful, they needed to exercise a high level of management in housing, feeding and disease control to cut production cost. “Some poultry farmers assume that poultry birds can fend on their own, especially when put on free range, but that is not the case. Birds require thorough care, feeding, housing, disease control and protection from predators,” Dr Akunzule said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra.
Dr Akunzule observed that housing was a major challenge to many farmers in the poultry business in the country, saying. “Poor housing exposes birds to various risks.” “A good housing should protect the birds from the cold and heat. It should also keep away predators such as dogs, wild cats or snakes,” he stressed.
“The house should be spacious enough to reduce congestion which causes stress in birds and even cannibalism and pecking. Ideally, each bird requires at least two square feet of space,” he added. He stated that birds, whether indigenous or hybrid, were prone to diseases, adding that for a serious poultry farmer, protection was always the first line of defence against diseases.
“Ensure that all your birds are vaccinated against the most common diseases such as fowl pox, Newcastle, Mareks and coccidiosis diseases. Diseases make the birds weak and retard their growth, feed conversion, egg production and eventually reduce the good returns that farmer’s desire,” he said.
Dr Akunzule spoke to the paper after a farm visit event to Amas Farms at Oyarifa in the La-Nkwantang Madina municipality. Under a cost-effective pilot broiler production program, about 1,200 birds underwent a proper farm management practice in housing, feeding and disease control over a six-week period at the Amas Farms. The birds recorded a mortality rate of about three per cent at the after the period.
Dr Akunzule explained that due to the proper farming methods adopted, the farm recorded about three per cent mortality rate — A significant figure — that reduced the farmers’ cost of production tremendously. “Under this program at Amas Farms, about 1,200 birds were used to start the project and after the six-week period when the birds were ready for the market, we had a record of 1,030 birds. We believe that this is a significant improvement that will reduce a farmers cost of production should the farmer exercise a high level of management,” he said.
The cost-effective demonstration was organised under the Ghana Poultry Project (GPP). The GPP, unveiled in 2015, is expected to be implemented over a five-year period and would increase the competitiveness of domestic production and processing of poultry meat and eggs in the country.
In response to calls to find more cost-efficient and effective methods to broiler production in the country, the GPP, together with its collaborators, began the implementation of the cost effective broiler production in the country. The Chief of Party (CoP) for the GPP, Madam Carianne de Boer, said the long-term goal of the project was to expand the production base of broiler production across the country.
That, she said, would be done through the support of industry leaders with business development training and technical services to improve marketing, branding and public perception about local products.
“We will continue to work with trade associations to identify and expand market opportunities for poultry farmers across the country,” she added.