How can enhanced policy frameworks and governance mechanisms improve the competitiveness and sustainability of domestic poultry meat and thus contribute to protein self-sufficiency at the country level and decent livelihoods for farmers and others involved in poultry value chains?
Ghana relies heavily on imports to meet domestic demand for animal protein. One reason is that poultry value chains in the country cannot compete with imports, either in quality or prices. As a result, there is a missed opportunity in enhancing and supporting local markets in order to improve the livelihoods of small farmers and others that are part of domestic poultry value chains. The local poultry system in Ghana is analysed using a food systems approach. The aim is to collectively find leverage points for enhancing and supporting local markets while also enhancing the availability of poultry meat at local level. Particular attention will be paid to the role of policy frameworks and social cohesion in strengthening the domestic poultry market in Ghana. Policy frameworks, by laying the foundations for (i) facilitating poultry farmers’ access to quality inputs and facilities; (ii) promoting the development and adoption of practices and technologies to promote sustainable poultry farming through training and financial assistance; (iii) protecting and promoting the production and consumption of domestic products. On the other hand, social cohesion mechanisms (such as farmers associations or credit unions), by providing their members with access to inputs, training, new technologies and loans, thus giving them the conditions to improve their businesses.
Among the governance mechanisms that shape the poultry system in Ghana, we highlight the role of farmers’ associations and cooperatives, credit unions, and other ways of social cohesion that facilitate improvements in the poultry value chain. Furthermore, the government, R&D institutions, and financial entities also play a role in this regard, as providing enabling conditions to the development of the poultry sector.
Policy frameworks play a crucial role in enhancing the market of domestic poultry meat products and thus the protein self-sufficiency of Ghana. On the one hand, policy frameworks may provide enabling conditions to improve the quality of domestic poultry meat products and thus comply with the quality standards to access markets. This by designing training and technology transfer services that cope with the needs of poultry farmers, by providing financial support to improve poultry farming activities, and by improving the availability and affordability of quality inputs and facilities. Despite the progress made through the Third Food and Agriculture Sector Development Plan (FASSDEP III) – promoting investments to develop technologies and provide farmers with quality services and facilities – is still work to do to better cope with farmers’ needs. On the other hand, policy frameworks may include protectionists measures that control importations or offer domestic products with better starting conditions to compete (e.g., subsidies to poultry inputs).
Domestic poultry meat in Ghana is currently not able to compete with imported products – often subsidized and processed – for three main reasons: High production and transaction costs, lack of compliance with quality standards for poultry value chain activities and poultry meat, and low level of products processing. For reducing production and transaction costs, poultry farmers should apply cost-efficient practices and technologies that improve poultry farming performance. For complying with quality standards, poultry farmers should ensure the quality of inputs, the right use of veterinary products, and the appropriateness of husbandry, processing, and storage practices and facilities. Finally, to offer diversified/processed poultry products, poultry farmers need to access appropriate facilities and have enough technical and financial capacities for making good use of them.
The methodological approach will be based on TEEB Agrifood framework to explore the interactions of the poultry system with environmental, social, human, and produced capitals. This framework will be used in combination with systems tools such as Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and Systems diagrams (e.g., systems dynamics, causal loop diagrams, fuzzy cognitive maps). Soft Systems Methodology will allow us to collectively identify the central issues and feasible and desired transformations, while acknowledging differences in the views of different stakeholders. System diagrams are used in a group model building approach, which will allow us to co-create simulation models that can then be used to explore alternative scenarios, identify leverage points in the system and inform policy and decision-making.
The methodological framework requires active engagement of different stakeholders in exploring the situation, framing the problems, defining the system purpose and boundaries, and in the identification of systemically desirable and culturally feasible interventions. In this regard, we plan to carry out interviews with key stakeholders and participatory workshops that include break-out sessions to open the discussions and promote sharing and mutual understanding between stakeholders. We will measure aspects related to policy measures like subsidies, import regulations, financial aid, technical support, and investments, and to governance structures like membership in associations, correspondence of policy frameworks with stakeholders needs, among others. Regarding expected outcomes, we will measure aspects related to domestic poultry meat competitiveness, contribution to family incomes, food and nutrition security, and poverty rates.
This case study will inform decision-makers about leverage points for increasing the competitiveness of domestic poultry meat – enhancing its quality and reducing its production and transaction costs to better compete with imported products. It will, in this way, enhance smallholder livelihoods and contribute to country animal protein self-sufficiency.
Product and market focus
Poultry (live birds and poultry meat); domestic market
- Farmers and farmers’ organizations
- Input suppliers
- Public officers and policy makers
- Financial institutions
- R&D institutions
- Processors, traders and consumers