The second edition of the Livestock, Poultry and Fisheries Training and Trade show (LiPF) themed "Step Up 2020" has been held in Accra. The event, organised by Agrihouse Foundation, seeks to revive livestock production in Ghana which has significantly declined in the past two decades resulting in the importation of about 81 per cent of meat products at the cost of over $400 million.
Present at the event were representatives from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, non-profit organisations and various actors in the livestock production value chain.
The Executive Director for Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Akyaa Akosa, was optimistic the program will provide stakeholders the platform to share experiences, ideas and also discuss solutions to challenges confronting the industry. She added that the program was designed to identify prospects in the livestock, poultry and fisheries sectors and to also equip participants with knowledge to harness these opportunities for jobs and wealth creation.
Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Honourable Francis Ato Cudjo, underscored the significance of the agriculture and fisheries industries, saying "the agriculture and fisheries industries are crucial to the local economy as it provides direct significant jobs and food for the Ghanaian people. Ghana’s fisheries sector employs about 10% of the entire population, accounting for two million jobs along the entire value chain. Fish consumption contributes over 60 per cent of total protein taken in Ghana,’’ he emphasized. He commended Agrihouse Foundation for the implementation of the LiPF initiative which according to him will help bridge the gap that existed between the crop and livestock sectors in the Ghanaian agricultural industry.
Mr Ato Cudjo mentioned government's flagship program, Aquaculture for Food and Jobs (AFJ), rolled out in 2019 through the Ministry Of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to mobilise 10,200 unemployed youth nationwide into Enterprise Groups for training in aquaculture production as part of efforts to revive the sector. He stressed the need for public-private partnership in promoting growth and development. The Minister also pledged government’s commitment to working with stakeholders to revive and improve the fortunes of all actors within the fisheries and aquaculture value chain.
The National Director for the Animal Production Directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Edwin Bekwe, noted the closure of borders as a result of cover-19 pandemic which slowed down the importation of animal products has exposed the shortfalls in the animal production sector of most developing countries, including Ghana. He stressed the need for fish and livestock farmers to adopt new ways of production for increased productivity in feeding the nation and Africa at large.
The General Manager in charge of Agribusiness at Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), Mr Kwame Asiedu Attram indicated that his outfit has earmarked an amount of 500 million Ghana Cedis to revitalise the livestock and poultry sub-sectors of the economy. He said the Bank reckons the huge volumes of poultry and poultry products imported into the country annually and has initiated the ADB Broiler Out Grower Scheme to reverse the trend. He added that the bank has been supporting livestock farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, and has in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development approved 20 million Ghana Cedis this year for the importation of 1,300 outboard motor units for distribution by the Ministry. Mr Attram said management and board of ADB as a show of commitment to the agriculture sector is embarking on an aggressive agenda to increase the agriculture portfolio of the bank to 50 per cent of the Bank’s total loan focus by 2022.
Chief of Party (COP) at the United States Department of Agriculture-Ghana Poultry Project (USDA-GPP), Carianne De Boer, urged actors in the sector to build partnerships that will accelerate self-sufficiency in food production for Ghana and strengthen the local market systems in order to boost resilience in these uncertain times.
In an interview with Agriculture in Africa Media, some participants and exhibitors in the event praised Agrihouse Foundation for organising the program. For her part, Chairperson of Nyonkodo Farmers Association, Madam Rebecca Aboagye, said the event has provided her organisation the platform to connect with potential partners and customers in improving productivity and sales of their produce respectively. Mr Jonathan Addo and Mr Andrew Chapman who took part in the ruminant and piggery sessions said knowledge acquired during the training sessions will be put to use in their various production fields.
The two day event witnessed the exhibition of all kinds of fish and livestock products and the training of individuals and groups in various topics under pig, fish, mushroom, snail and poultry farming among others.
Agriculture in Africa Media is a media partner to Agrihouse Foundation.