Feed costs and floods threaten Ghana’s poultry industry

The price for chicken and eggs has increased so sharply primarily because of the high cost of maize, soybeans, and other ingredients used in the production of poultry feed. Photo: Freepik
The price for chicken and eggs has increased so sharply primarily because of the high cost of maize, soybeans, and other ingredients used in the production of poultry feed. Photo: Freepik

In the Bono Region of Ghana the high cost of maize, soybeans, and other ingredients used in poultry feed production have caused a 50% hike in egg prices in recent months.

The Bono Region is known as a hub for egg production and the increase is causing concern for the poultry industry.

The sharp increase is due to the high cost of maize, soybeans, and other ingredients used in the poultry feed production, following the 2020 floods, which destroyed maize farmlands. In November 2020 a crate of eggs cost 13-18 GH¢ (Ghanaian cedi) (US$ 2.22 – $ 3.08), but it is now between GH¢20-25 (US$ 3.42 – US$ 4.27), reports Ghana’s Graphic Online. Wholesalers and street vendors are complaining about subdued orders and low patronage. One street vendor noted that she was able to sell about 6 crates of boiled eggs per day, but now she struggles to sell even 2.

According to local consumers, eggs are not just a delicacy, they are also an affordable source of protein for the poor, the young and the elderly. The escalating price of the commodity is gradually making eggs “a preserve for the rich”, the Ghanaian paper reports. A member of the Dormaa Poultry Farmers Association noted that a 130 kg bag of maize, which used to sell for GH¢150 (US$ 25.64) before November last year, is currently being sold for GH¢250 (US$ 42.73).

Floods and a poor harvest

A dry season in grain production in 2020 resulted in a poor harvest, adding further pressure on the market. Professionals in the poultry industry have urged the government to reduce the exportation of maize to neighbouring countries, and to either scrap or reduce import duties on maize and soybeans. Exacerbating the situation further is the flood that destroyed nearly 6,000 ha of farmlands in 2020, affecting 16,574 farmers, reports News Ghana. The floods were largely caused by the torrential rainfall and the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso. It was further reported that the floods had devastating effects on food crops and livestock and that almost 4,000 ha of maize, over 550 ha of sorghum, and over 9 ha of soya beans were destroyed.

Berkhout
Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist