Mr Mohammed Hardi Tuferu, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, says the government has started implementing the livestock and poultry component of its five-year strategic plan to increase production and ensure food security.
He said a gap analysis conducted flagged a huge deficit in the livestock and poultry production sector necessitating the need to take steps to bridge the gap.
Mr Tuferu said this at the opening of the annual review meeting of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture-led (IITA) Black Soldier Fly (BSF) for Bio Circular and Environmental Sustainability (BBEST) project.
The project seeks to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder chicken, fish, pig, and vegetable producers, along with other stakeholders in the value chain.
It sought to promote improved urban sanitation and contribute to climate change mitigation through the development of a BBEST.
Mr Tuferu said livestock played a pivotal role in ensuring food security and fostering economic development, nevertheless, in recent times livestock producers were faced with high cost of protein meal for their chicken, fish, and pigs.
“We have started implementing this programme for the past 3-4 months and this year, we are in full gear to close the gap,” the Deputy Minister stressed.
Mr Tuferu said projects like the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) for Bio Circular and Environmental Sustainability (BBEST) project was one of the initiatives that could contribute towards the government’s goal.
The project has the potential to address environmental concerns and create opportunities for economic growth and increase food production, thereby aligning with over fifty per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr Richard Asare, IITA Ghana Country Representative, said the BBEST project, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) had been actively implementing the Black Soldier Fly-based urban biowaste processing in Ghana, Mali, Niger, and DR Congo for the past two years.
Dr Asare said the project had built capacity and equipped livestock farmers in Akuse, Adeiso and Somanya to produce the alternative protein meals for their chicken, fish, and pigs from BSF larvae and organic fertilizer for vegetable production using organic waste.
He said they also developed a Ghana Standard on animal feeding stuff with specification of dried products for compounded animal feed.
“Establishing the BSF treatment facility at Kofisah to create direct and indirect jobs for over hundred youth and women in the Nsawam Adoagyiri Municipality is also one of our achievements,” Dr Asare stressed.
Madam Silje Maria Hanstad, the Senior Advisor, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, said the Norwegian government had made food security and the fight against hunger a priority area in Norwegian development policy.
She said currently, most of the waste generated in Africa was disposed uncontrolled, and that degradable organic materials constituted a major part of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), and with a trajectory of economic growth, rapid population growth, and urbanisation, the challenge of MSW management, was likely to persist.
“Accra, Bamako, and Niamey are among the major African cities plagued by MSW management problems, particularly bio waste management,” she added.
She said with growing populations and urbanisation, food demands were increasing, and consumption patterns changing, with dietary diversification into vegetables, fruits, fish, and livestock products.
The Senior Advisor said chicken and fish farming were among the most rapidly expanding private sectors in African agriculture and currently based on the traditional animal feed sources.
She said the rapid growth of the private sector demanded increased efforts to find alternative feed sources competitive in price and quality, without occupying additional agricultural land.