Poultry farmers in the country who have been struggling to access credit to expand their operations say they are being forced to start a financial services company to enable members access funds for their operations.
This followes several complaints by the farmers who claim investors and banks shy from funding their businesses because of their operation being tagged as high-risk.
Well over US$350 million worth of chicken is consumed in the country annually.
Approximately 250,000 metric tons of chicken, representing 95 percent of the country’s demand, is imported, while local farmers meet only five percent of the demand.
In an exclusive interview with Goldstreet Business, president of the Poultry Farmers Association, Mr. Napoleon Agyemang Oduro lamented what he says is the unfair treatment meted out to his members by commercial banks and accused them of giving importers preferential treatment.
“If an importer and a local producer of chicken should be vying for a million dollar credit facility from a financial institution, I can guarantee you that the importer will get the loan within 24 hours but the poultry farmer will not get at all, because they are perceived as a high-risk,” he lamented.
An average commercial poultry farmer in the country has more than 10, 000 birds, mainly layers, which rake in revenues of, at least GHS4,000.00 daily.
Oduro believes this must be guarantee enough for investors to believe in the industry which can be expanded to meet the country’s demand while creating thousands of jobs.
“They should give us an example of people they have loaned to who have refused to pay. Buffer stock and school feeding programme is demanding eggs for school children, and no farmer has the capacity. So, there is a guaranteed market because every SHS consume eggs at least twice in a week. But you prepare your documents to the bank for funds to meet this market and they tell you it is a high-risk area.”
According to him the time has come for members who understand the industry to consider the setting up of a financial services company. He narrated his personal experience to Goldstreet Business.
“Yes, it has some risk, but the risk in the transport industry cannot be compared to the risk in our industry. In 2013, I had an order to supply 1000 broilers to senior high schools so I approached my bank to help me do 2000 because then my capacity was a 1000, so I don’t lose them all. I went with a well-prepared plan but the bank just kept tossing me until I gave up,” Oduro narrated.
The Poultry Farmers Association is also unhappy government has allowed importers to dominate the market to the detriment of local producers. They therefore want government to encourage the banks and other investors to pay more attention to the poultry industry.
By Nana Oye Ankrah