Poultry farmers in Ghana are up in arms against President Akufo Addo’s Jubilee House for killing their budding industry with cheap Chinese imports of mackerel that has robbed them of a huge slice of from supplying Senior High Schools (SHS) with protein source from their eggs.
The President of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers (GNAPF) Victor Oppong Adjei slammed the decision by the government to substitute eggs for mackerel from China under the school feeding program.
Speaking to Accra-based Starr FM on Monday, April 12, Mr Oppong Adjei said replacing eggs with Chinese mackerel will not benefit the children because it does not have the same nutrients.
“The supply of eggs to schools was helping the poultry industry. But we’re hearing of the importation of mackerel to substitute the eggs, which is very unfortunate. The nutrients in eggs help the brains so you can’t compare mackerels to them. There was no agreement but gov’t said eggs should be added to the school feeding program. It was last week we heard that the eggs are being substituted with mackerel. Which is unfortunate,” he said.
On Sunday, April 11, 2021, Africa Education Watch, an education research and advocacy organisation blew the whistle on the Jubilee House for collapsing the Ghanaian poultry industry by clandestinely awarding a contract to a company that imports mackerels from China for supplies to SHS.
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 centred on local egg producers in Kumasi, Ejura, Kwabre and among 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.