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How To Start A Poultry Business In Ghana

Poultry farming involves rearing birds for their meat, eggs, and other by-products and exploring them for their commercial value. Apart from chickens which are the most common, other birds used for poultry include ducks, quails, guinea fowls, and turkey. 

Ghana has a rich poultry farming history. But it continues to struggle as local poultry farmers compete with relatively cheaper poultry products imported into the country. 

According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the country’s demand for poultry meat is about four hundred metric tonnes. However, Ghana only produces not more than 60 thousand metric tonnes locally. In comparison, poultry imports constitute nearly 180 thousand metric tonnes, meaning there is still a shortfall of about 160 thousand metric tonnes. 

What does this mean for the local entrepreneur seeking to venture into poultry in Ghana? Your guess is as good as mine. There are endless opportunities in the poultry sector, and the future is even brighter as responsible agencies launch policies to strengthen local production. 

Before I delve into the contents of this article, here is one important thing to know. My name is Joanna, I’m an estate agent here at Sundance Ghana Estates. If you need more information on buying land or buying a property in Ghana or want to browse through available farm land for sale in Ghana to run your poultry business, the staff here at Sundance Ghana Estates can help. Feel free to contact me on Whatsapp at 00233201924859. You can also join our Facebook group here.

Here is an in-depth guide on how to start a poultry business in Ghana. 

An overview of the poultry industry in Ghana

Since Ghana’s independence, the poultry industry has experienced a fair share of ups and downs. Subsistence poultry farmers dominated the industry during the pre-independence era. 

Studies show that the commercial poultry industry became a vibrant agricultural sector between 1980 and 1990, producing 95 percent of chicken meat and eggs in Ghana. 

The commercial poultry industry comes in three categories, large scale with farmers managing over then thousand birds, medium scale with five to ten thousand birds, and small scale poultry farmers with a bird population under five thousand. Poultry farms operating on a large scale make up 20 percent of the poultry sector, mostly producing eggs. 

The medium-scale category is the most common, with about 80 percent of Ghanain poultry farmers. Medium-scale farmers rely on hatcheries and feed mills from large-scale producers for day-old chicks and feed. 

Like the large-scale category, medium-scale farmers also produce eggs and maintain minimal biosecurity by allowing free-range operations. The small-scale category primarily deals with meat production. Small-scale farmers also allow free-range and wild birds to access their poultry houses, exposing them to disease outbreaks. 

Poultry consumption continues to rise steadily. However, eat imports account for about 92 percent of the total meat market. Consumption patterns of households, restaurants, hotels and fast foods also gravitate towards imported frozen meat, limiting domestic poultry production. 

Impact of the poultry sector on the Ghanaian Economy.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock and poultry meat contribute 40 percent of Ghana’s national animal protein supply. Poultry outputs, including chickens, guinea fowls, and ducks, have been a mainstay in Ghanaian households for many decades. 

A 2012 KNUST study established that the Ghanaian poultry industry is a major contributor to employment creation and nutrition and food security enhancement. 

Studies show that the 70s and 80s were the golden ages of poultry farming in Ghana. The country was near self-sufficiency, with commercial poultry farmers providing enough meat, eggs, and dairy products to feed the local market. 

However, following the structural adjustments led by worldwide economic crises, things took a downturn, which forced GHana to open its markets for subsidized imports. As more imports came, domestic patronage for poultry farmers reduced, which began a steep decline from the 2000s.

Steps to start a poultry business in Ghana

Poultry farming is one of the most profitable ventures you can undertake in Ghana. But venturing into the poultry business is not that straightforward. 

And managing to sustain a successful poultry farm is no easy task either. You may be setting off on the wrong foot if you dont perform the necessary due diligence required to see your business through the long haul. 

Here are a few steps to give you a head start in Ghana’s poultry industry.

Determine your niche 

Poultry is an expansive industry, and you dont need to go in with an idea cast in stone if you haven’t assessed the full range of niche options available. 

Some poultry farmers prefer starting a hatchery, involved in the buying and selling of day-old chicks. Others can also raise and sell their chicks after six weeks, raise layers for eggs, and engage in feed production. Each option has its pros and cons. 

For instance, hatcheries avoid extra costs for feeding since they sell their chicks as early as a day old. The disadvantage is that many hatchery owners fail to compete since customers only patronize owners with the best quality chicks to avoid losses. 

And it takes years and a lot of work to let customers understand your quality and establish a lasting relationship. Therefore it pays to choose your niche wisely. 

Choose The Type Of Poultry Bird To Rear

Like choosing a niche, the choice of poultry birds you choose for your farm also matters. There are two common poultry breeds known to Ghanaian poultry farmers apart from the locally grown chickens. 

Broilers which are mostly raised for their meat, grow faster than layers. In six weeks, broilers can grow from a 40-gram hatch weight to approximately 1.5 or 2 kilograms. 

Layers are raised from day old to and can start laying eggs within 18 to 19 weeks until they are 72 to 78 weeks. Broiler and layer birds must be kept exclusively indoors on a deep litter system or in battery cages, feeding on well-formulated diets. 

Alternatively, you can also try cockerels for meat production. Cockerels have a high demand and can grow in multiple environments, but they grow very slowly compared to layers and broilers. 

Select A Suitable Farm Site

Site location is crucial in poultry farming. Some key factors to consider include size, weather conditions, easy and motorable access, and state laws. The size of your poultry farm should be enough to contain your fleet. 

Seasoned poultry experts recommend using the five hundred birds per acre rule to align your poultry farm size to your fleet. Your poultry farm should be nestled away from the urban chaos, calm, and less exposed to pollution. 

Also, look out for predators like foxes and other wild animals if you’re choosing a rural setting. Utilities like an adequate water source and unlimited energy are also crucial in selecting a suitable site for your poultry farm. 

Provide Good Housing And Shelter For The Birds

A proper poultry housing unit is necessary to protect your poultry birds. Poultry units must be well aerated, shielded from direct sunlight, and spacious enough to enable the birds to run freely in their coops. 

Raising your hen coop can also be a great way to reduce the risk of flooding. There are various designs you can choose for your poultry housing. 

Today, technology enables poultry owners to develop sophisticated self-servicing housing systems, making managing a large poultry fleet easier. Investing in such a system should be your ultimate goal, but you can start with something moderate and build your way up.

Feeding and Medication Of The Poultry Birds

Then comes the chicken feed problem every poultry owner is weary of. Quality chicken feed can be expensive, especially if you’re running your entire farm on a tight budget. But you don’t need to drop the quality no matter how expensive things get. 

One advantage you can enjoy as a Ghanaian poultry farmer is access to local food varieties. The main feed ingredients include locally produced corn, soybean cake, and fish meal. 

Another smart way to reduce feeding expenses is to plant what your chickens eat. This strategy can affect the financial running of your entire farm since chicken droppings can also be used for manuring crops reducing the cost and reliance on fertilizers. 

Apart from food, your chicken will require extensive veterinary care. Ghana has experienced significant losses due to widespread diseases like bird flu. You’ll need a vet to manage your fleet in such volatile times. But a vet’s involvement need not only come as a reactionary strategy. Consult the vet when building your housing systems and sourcing for feed to ensure your chickens are optimally protected. 

Marketing and Sales of The Poultry Birds

Now you have healthy birds and a fully functional poultry farm? What’s next? Recouping your expenses and running your poultry business profitably. 

For the most part, that’s why marketing is essential. 

Many poultry farmers fixate on the operational aspect of the poultry farm without paying attention to marketing. You can hire a professional marketing team or expert if marketing is not your forte. 

Various marketing strategies are available to sell your poultry services and products. In today’s age, it’s impossible not to take your poultry business online. Create a website and social media pages for frequent communication between potential and existing customers. 

Steps to register a poultry business in Ghana

Setting up your poultry business is one thing. Formalizing it and ensuring your farm satisfies the necessary conditions required of a full-scale poultry farm is another. 

Registering your poultry business with the Registrar General’s Department is a must, especially if you plan to trade your eggs and poultry products with foreign partners. 

Visit the Registrar General’s Department Office or pick a suitable business registration form. They have different registration forms for different business structures. 

Fill out the form and submit.

There are two ways to do this. You can fill out the form electronically via the Registrar General’s rgd.gov.gh website or submit it in person to the department’s office. Either way, you can rely on the department’s customer service via phone or in-person for assistance. 

Pay the necessary fees.

Generally, picking up a form is free via the department’s website but comes at a printed charge if you’re taking it at the office. However, the registration process comes at a fixed price unique to the type of form you pick. 

Wait for your certification.

The last stage involves an assessment of the details provided by your business. You should receive it after one or two weeks if you satisfy every requirement demanded of the poultry business. 

For a poultry business, you may be referred to your district’s agricultural inspection officer to assess your facilities and environment before issuing your certificate. After the certificate is issued, you’ll be required to pay an annual charge to keep your certification valid. 

Usually, you’ll need a lawyer and an auditor to help you through this process. Many poultry farmers dodge the registration process because they deem the process to be cumbersome. You can choose to reserve your poultry farm’s name via the registrar general department’s rgd.gov.gh website while you seek clarity through the registration process. 

Often, when many poultry farmers hear business registration, the first thing that comes to mind is taxes. For this reason, they tend to avoid the process. But registering your poultry business comes with various advantages to ignore. 

First, being a registered entity is required to secure external capital from financial institutions, government loan schemes, and agricultural intervention programs. Registration can also help market and distribute your products to top institutions like hotels and restaurants. 

Conclusion 

Generally, poultry farming in Ghana is no new market. But it has gained traction in the country’s modern economy as many stakeholders strive for a more localized and self-sufficient market. Therefore, your aspirations to begin a poultry farm in Ghana are more than valid. And we hope this article was insightful in that regard. Please dont hesitate to share and leave us your comments.

FAQs

Is poultry farming profitable?

Poultry farming is one of the most profitable agricultural sectors worldwide, with a market value of 322.55 billion dollars as of 2020. In 2021, the sector grew at a 3.8 percent compound annual growth rate, and experts predict the industry’s value to reach 422 billion dollars before 2025. Therefore, setting up a farm and adopting the right management practices can be a great way to cash in on this growth trend. 

How expensive is it to venture into poultry farming?

How much would you need to start a poultry farm? Of course, there is no straightforward answer. It all depends on the number of bits you want to start with. The number of birds will determine how much you will need for site preparation, feed production, marketing, etc. 

Where in Ghana should I start my poultry farm?

Ghana has a uniform climate suitable for poultry businesses countrywide. As such, there are no significant differences between starting your poultry farm in the south or northern Ghana. Your commitment to essential poultry best practices and business management will determine success.

How often do poultry farmers make losses? 

Making sustainable gains for a poultry arm owner is highly possible but not without a challenge. A huge part of your running costs will go to feeding and utilities. Other factors leading to losses include mortality and incubation losses. 

Is there a future for poultry farming in Ghana?

Ghana plans to develop a self-sufficient agricultural sector. However, scores of many poultry farm businesses this year alone have become alarming, jeopardizing the self-sufficiency plans. There is little research evidence pointing to the long-term effects of the sector’s current challenges. But plans like the Better Chicken for a Better future are part of various stakeholders’ efforts to confront unmet market demands. 

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