Rearing For Food And Jobs; Catalyst For Development

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto

GHANA IS hoping to reduce its meat import by 95 per cent over the next five years as it aggressively rolls out its new agricultural programme, the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ).

Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture has said within two years from the commencement of the RFJ initiative, “meat import will reduce by 70% and 95% by year 5.”

The RFJ project, he said, “Is expected to generate 24,516 direct jobs in the first year and would increase to 1,336,165 by year 5. A total of 1,558,860 direct and indirect jobs would be generated by the fifth year.”

The Minister has revealed that “it is also expected that total revenue of GH₵690,741,181 would be generated from production of these animals by year 2 and increase in year 5 to GH₵ 4.03billion.”

Ghana, according to the Minister, stands to gain immensely from the Rearing for Food and Jobs initiative.

On Monday, June 24, President Akufo-Addo assisted by the minister launched the RFJ initiative in Wa, which is another module of his administration’s flagship programme –Planting for Food and Jobs. The campaign will run for 5 years, from 2019 to 2023,

According to the Minister, the RFJ initiative would among other things help “to develop a competitive and more efficient livestock industry that increases domestic production, reduces importation of livestock products and contributes to employment generation and to the improvement of livelihoods of livestock value chain actors and the national economy.”

Statistics

Data from the Ministry indicates that the country’s livestock industry prior to the launch of the RFJ had “national meat requirement at 400,200MT based on per capita consumption of meat (13.8kg) (Population 29 million).”

The statistics revealed that estimated meat imports stood at 243,000MT (Poultry about 200,000MT, other meats 43 000MT).

Estimated Local meat production (4yr Av.) stood at 42,198MT, it said, adding that meat available for consumption (2018) was about 285,198mt (imports + local production)

The Ministry reported a meat deficit of about 115,000MT

Benefits

According to the Ministry, an assessment it carried out “indicated that there would be direct and indirect copious and varied benefits and impacts from the RFJ.”

It revealed that “in the short term, the programme would lead to increased production and value addition of the selected livestock and poultry.”

It added that “for instance, it is estimated that meat production volumes would generally increase from year 2 from 170,016MT to 794,493MT in year 5 (an increase of 367.2%) and livestock numbers will increase from 117,043,945 in year 2 to 513,134,435 in year 5 (increase of 338.4%).”

BY Melvin Tarlue