Players in the livestock sector, which has been one of the major employable sectors of the economy, are calling on government to step in and save it from imminent collapse, as it is reported that 95 percent of the livestock consumed is imported.
Their call comes at a time when the sector has been the worst-performing in the economy among all other subsectors.
The 2017 GDP figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show that the livestock sector’s contribution to the economy has not been encouraging for over a decade now.
The highest it has contributed to GDP in the past ten years is only 2.1 percent – and that was in 2008. Then it dropped to 2 percent in both 2009 and 2010.
Since then, the livestock sector has seen its contribution to GDP dwindle consistently over the years to a miserable all-time low figure of 1.1 percent in 2017.
The above statistics clearly show that the livestock industry is not given the needed attention and has been relegated to the back-seat, leaving it to its own fate.
It is for this reason that the Ghana National Livestock, Breeders, and Traders Association is blaming government for the industry’s misfortunes, citing neglect as the main cause.
Chairman of the association, Alhaji Moro Akakade, in an interview with the B&FT lamented the situation – saying government should emulate the examples of other West African countries and commit funds to revive the sector.
“The Livestock sector is very vibrant, but we have been neglected completely by successive governments. Any government that comes in does not take care of our sector; no minister visits us or patronises our market.
“In Burkina Faso, the livestock industry is doing very well because their sector has been well taken care of. The farmers or breeders receive enough financial support from government. So, if our sector ministry [Ministry of Agriculture] had been contacting us, we could have also come out with suggestions that will improve the local industry,” he said.
He added that the stunted growth of the sector has encouraged a lot of importation as the local industry is unable to meet demand, hence policies that are in place to boost other sectors must also be channeled to the livestock sector.
“As we are talking, we took in over 800 small ruminant (goats) today from Burkina Faso which will all be patronised in two or three days. We cannot depend on our local livestock farmers for even one week, because the local farmers are not breeding enough to meet our demand.
“We have heard of government supporting crop and poultry farmers financially and with inputs. If that is also channeled to us, we will be very grateful because our business is capital intensive,” he said.
Alhaji Akakade is thereby calling on government to pay attention to the sector, which he said offers a lot of employment to many youths in the country.
“Currently, the Ashaiman international market employs over 1000 youths in its value chain consisting of traders, breeders, butchers and others. If government helps us with money, we can employ more to enhance the standard of living for our people,” he said.