Chickening out of Protectionism

There are 29 million chickens in Ghana. Of this number, only one in six are meant for the table, the rest lay eggs for sale. There are 7 hatcheries producing the chicks for rearing. Only three of them have the right breeds to produce their own eggs for hatching. The remaining import the fertilised eggs.
 
Though Ghana has quarantine laws, there are no quarantine offices at the ports to enable careful biosafety examination of imports. It is suspected that fertilised geese and duck eggs from China are being smuggled in, though government bans the import of poultry eggs from the giant Asian nation.
 
The average Ghanaian eats three chickens a year, of which nine out of every ten is imported. Chickens from the US are more than 25% cheaper than those from the EU or Latin America and 50% cheaper than those produced in Ghana, but US share of the market has declined from about half to less than one-third in the last 15 years.
 
Though some Ghanaian restaurants and hotels were steadily shifting to local poultry because the meat is tougher and therefore apparently preferred by locals, imports from Brazil are said to have eclipsed this trend. The Brazilian meat combines the sinewy taste locals love with a compelling price point.
 
Total taxes on imported chicken are about 40%, with the tariff itself at 20%. The price of poultry meat has increased by more than 50% over the last 3 years, and the price of eggs by about 30%. 85% of the day to day costs of running a chicken farm goes to feed. There are 15 commercial mills in Ghana that produces this feed. Most major chicken farmers produce their own feed. Reports indicate that feed prices have doubled over the last 4 years.
 
Virtually all poultry veterinary drugs are also imported. A careful look of the profile of inputs into the poultry industry has led some to argue that local value addition may be less than 25%, and therefore that a blanket ban on poultry imports before extensive work has been done on the domestic value chain will lead merely to massive shortages and price inflation.

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