Education research and advocacy organisation, Africa Education Watch has disclosed that the growing collapse of Ghana’s poultry industry could be attributed directly to President Akufo Addo’s Jubilee House which has granted some contract to a Chinese company resulting in low patronage of locally produced eggs.
According to Kofi Asare, the Executive Director of Education Watch, the organisation has been investigating why many SHS are not buying eggs from local poultry farmers as they use to do and they realised, the Jubilee House had given a contract to one Lamens Ventures to import canned mackerel from China in what has squeezed out funds to schools to purchase local farm products like eggs.
Education Watch’s findings centered on local egg producers in Kumasi, Ejura, Kwabre and among Senior High School (SHS) heads in the Ashanti Region.
In their findings, they realised that SHSs whose budget comes straight from the Jubilee House were taking delivery of three egg consignment every week, totalling some 3 million eggs for the schools surveyed, but as soon as Lamens Venture started supplying the schools with the Chinese tinned fish, they cut down on their orders for fish, apparently supplementing students protein intake from the Chinese import.
“According to them, before COVID-19, schools were doing at least 3 eggs a week. This translated into 150,000 crates/week (about 3.6 million pieces of eggs). So poultry farmers invested in more layers to sustain the demand from SHS, while it created jobs and income for many-thank you Nana Addo for creating jobs via free SHS,” Kofi Asare said in a statement posted on his Facebook.
“Since this company started supplying the China Mackerel, many schools started doing one egg a week. This reduced the demand for eggs by 70%, and coupled with supply chain disruptions of COVID-19, forced many poultry farmers who had invested in Layers to shutting down and lay off labour. The increase in the price of maize only nailed the coffin.”
He jabbed the President for a policy that is directly killing local farmers. “Dear Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, some of your policy decisions are now creating unemployment and poverty, eroding your own achievements, especially in your World Bank Ashanti, the HQ of Ghana Poultry,” he said.
Meanwhile, after the statement about the Chinese imports, Kofi Asare posted another statement saying he received a telephone call from the CEO of the National Food Buffer Stock Company, Hanan Abdul-Wahab who explained that funds for buying perishable foods for SHS have not been released since January.
“In the absence of cash to buy eggs, the only available protein is the imported mackerel which has been consumed since 2018,” Mr. Asare explained.
He wants the Akufo Addo administration to institute a compulsory one-egg-a-day and local chicken policy for SHS students to save Ghana’s poultry industry.
The Akufo Addo administration’s chief social policy is the free SHS where it promises tuition-free and free food for SHS students.
However, the government has largely failed to adequately resource these schools to effectively implement the policy. Consequently, there is currently a dearth of infrastructure in schools, forcing the government to adopt a controversial double-track enrolment system.
Recently, the problems forced the Ghana Education Service to postpone school reopening by one month, in what has attracted anger among students and parents.