SSNIT Must Invest in Poultry Meat Production – 2023 National Best Livestock Farmer

Mr. Augustine Wireko Asubonteng, MD

The 2023 National Best Livestock Farmer and Managing Director of Wireko Asubonteng Farms Limited, Mr. Augustine Wireko Asubonteng, is questioning why the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), which manages pension funds, is not directly involved in poultry meat production or investing in the sector to address the chicken meat consumption of the country.

As of 2022, the country’s chicken meat consumption stood at 460,000 metric tons, with local production accounting for only 5 percent. This significant gap highlights the need for deliberate policy investments to attract prospective investors.

Mr. Asubonteng has observed that while SSNIT is excelling in other sectors of the economy, it has not considered entering or investing in poultry farming. He believes that to reduce the importation of frozen chicken meat, institutions like SSNIT must be involved.

Mr. Asubonteng is urging SSNIT management to consider this proposal and step in to help the country meet its chicken consumption needs. He asserts that SSNIT’s involvement would serve as a catalyst to significantly boost local production, strengthening economic growth and alleviating the sector’s burdens.

Speaking exclusively on Oyerepa TV’s “Me Kua Adwuma” show with host Richmond Frimpong, Mr. Asubonteng emphasized the need for the Ghanaian government to establish an investment opportunity policy framework for the poultry industry, similar to what exists in the mining sector. Such a framework would attract more investors, as its absence makes it difficult for prospective investors to enter the industry.

Mr. Asubonteng pointed out that high duties on imported poultry equipment are a major disincentive for new entrants. He stated, “Although there are some tax reliefs on imported agricultural machinery, I still paid 500,000 cedis at the port before I could clear all equipment for the full production of my farms at Bekwai Kwamang.”

Sharing His Personal Ordeal

After securing 53 acres of land and setting up a facility with a 150,000-layer bird capacity, Mr. Asubonteng approached the Electricity Company of Ghana to extend power to his site. Despite a series of engagements, the power supply unit denied him service because there were no adjoining communities to benefit. As a result, he resorted to a solar energy system, which cost him 1 million Ghana cedis—funds he could have used to expand his operations. Currently, he relies fully on solar power and has additional standby generators, yet still faces tax demands from the Ghana Revenue Authority.

“If there were an investment opportunity policy in place, I wouldn’t have gone through this trauma. How many startups can do what I did to stay in the business? It is frustrating to experience these hindrances as a startup,” he remarked.

Despite these challenges, Mr. Asubonteng is determined to reduce the importation of frozen chicken meat by establishing a 30,000-bird capacity facility for broiler meat production. He aims to produce his first processed chicken meat by 2027.

He concluded by stressing that the investment policy must address the sector’s challenges and create a business-friendly environment to attract investors. “As a sovereign nation, we cannot continue to depend on others for food sufficiency. We must show commitment to producing goods that Ghanaians are capable of making to feed our citizenry without relying on state funds,” he asserted.

Richmond Frimpong

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