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Locally produced chicken meat strengthens agriculture and the local market.

Rotten meat in the cooking pot

The sale of chicken parts shows how intensely the Ghana markets depend upon the European Union (EU). Since chicken breasts are preferred in Europe today, breeders and slaughterhouses have looked for new markets for the other chicken parts. They found what they were looking for in Africa. They ship the frozen chicken parts to Africa where they are sold on the local markets. This meat is almost 20 per cent cheaper than the local products. Consumers pay a high price. More than 80 per cent of the chicken parts are contaminated with salmonellae and microbes thus they are not suitable for human consumption.

The Ghana government wanted to protect itself by increasing customs duty to halt the influx of the chicken parts. But the World Bank and International Monetary Fund forced the government in 2003 to bring the customs duty down to the previous level. They threatened to withhold a credit that had been granted for reducing poverty in the country.

The consequences for the farmers are disastrous: some years ago, they were able to produce 80 per cent of the required meat themselves; today, only three per cent. Many farmers became unemployed and are now highly in debt because they had to take substantial loans to buy new feed.