Impact of COVID-19 on animal production in Ghana

Impact of COVID-19 on animal production in Ghana


COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease originating from Wuhan, a city in China (Lone and Ahmad, 2020), in November 2019. This virus has, since its emergence, caused widespread damage to the world, including both developed and developing countries. Aside from the health implications of the disease, other important areas, including the agricultural value chain, such as the livestock production sector, has had its share of the effects (Bisson and Hambleton, 2020) given its role in nutrition, livelihood, and food security.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought into focus a number of issues, including food safety and hygiene issues, intricately linked to the consumption of the animal resourced foods, the high cost of production on the African continent versus cheaper imports now less available due to global movement restrictions, and the weaknesses in feed, veterinary, insurance, and other supply chains (AU-IBAR, 2020). Like other African countries, animal production in Ghana has not been spared the negative impacts on the activities of stakeholders along the livestock value chain from feed production and supply, communal grazing, sustainable use and conservation, and provision of veterinary services, including artificial insemination, livestock trade, transport, slaughtering, processing, and marketing of livestock products.

These suggest the need for various governments and stakeholders in the West African region, including Ghana, to put in measures to counteract the adverse effects of the pandemic in the livestock subsector and the agricultural sector as a whole. This paper examines the effects of COVID-19 on animal production in Ghana.

Effects on Food Supply and Demand

The first two cases of COVID-19 recorded in Ghana on March 12, 2020, were imported. Since then, the disease has been spreading in the country. As of October 7, 2020, there are 46,829 confirmed cases, 46,006 recoveries/discharges, and 302 deaths. The active cases now stand at 466 (Ghana Health Service, 2020). On March 30, 2020, there was an imposition of partial lockdown in some parts of the country for 2 wk as the virus began to spread. Decongestion and some market closures (Asante and Mills, 2020) led to shortages of some feed ingredients for formulating livestock feeds, including maize, wheat, soybean, and fishmeal, resulting in price increases of these commodities.

Ghana imports most livestock products from neighboring West African countries, the United States, Brazil, and the European Union. The live animal imports and importation of day-old chicks (DOCs) and parent stock into Ghana are as shown in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. Livestock trade mainly from the Sahel regions of West Africa into Ghana has been severely affected as a result of the closure of the land borders (Asantewa, 2020). For example, the quarantine posts for livestock recorded a decline in the average number of trucks conveying livestock, such as Sanga cattle (Figure 1) from neighboring counties to Ghana (Valerio, 2020), reducing revenue for the country, and a potential of affecting the already lower per capita consumption of animal protein in Ghana (Badu et al., 2020).

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