The government has increased the supply of livestock for breeding under the Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ) component of the flagship agricultural programme, Planting for Food and Jobs.
From the initial 105,000 improved breed of livestock offered at its inception in June last year, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) is set to provide 929,000 more before the end of the year.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, a Minister of State at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr Nurah Gyeile, said the RFJ programme was meant to address the country’s deficit in meat production.
The government launched the RFJ in Wa in the Upper West Region in June last year and made available imported improved breeds of livestock including sheep, goats and guinea fowls and cockerels for cross-breeding with local stocks.
Dr Gyeile said not only had the numbers been scaled up this year, but the variety of animals had also been increased to include piglets, layers and broilers while the number of beneficiary districts and farmers had also been increased.
He said the programme was meant to develop a more competitive and efficient livestock sector to increase domestic meat production.
Giving details, Dr Gyeile said 7,500 sheep were imported from Burkina Faso last year and supplied to 20 districts in the northern savannah zone, with each district receiving 400 sheep for distribution to 40 farmers.
He said further that the ministry was set to distribute 23,000 sheep this year for the northern savannah zone of the country in 31 districts for 1,200 farmers, while 45,000 cockerels would be shared among 4,500 households.
The cockerels, he said, were meant for household rearing, adding that 7,500 cockerels were imported from Europe last year and shared among 750 farmer households in the northern savannah zone of the country.
He said there was no distribution of piglets for the southern zone last year because of the outbreak of the swine flu disease in the second half of the year. Under the circumstances, only 22,500 cockerels were supplied to 2,250 households.
In addition, Dr Gyeile said 130,000 guinea fowls would be given out to 13 districts in the northern savannah zone to cover 130 commercial farmers, while 100,000 broilers would be alloted to 200 farmers in 10 districts.
Furthermore, he said, 120,000 layers would be distributed among 1,000 women in 20 districts in the northern savannah zone while 240,000 layers would be shared to women farmers in the southern zone.
The minister said the southern zone would also receive 10,000 improved breed of piglets that had been introduced into the country some years ago. He said the animals would be given out to 2,000 farmers in 40 districts while 71,000 cockerels would be spread among 71 districts.
He expressed the hope that with the heavy injection of layers and broilers, “we can produce four million birds every six weeks.”
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