Darko Farms in back into operations through the ‘magic’ of 1-District-1-Factory

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the weekend visited the premises of Darko Farms, the oldest private and largest poultry farm in Ghana, whose operations have been revamped through the government’s 1-District-1-Factory initiative.

Darko Farms was once a household name for most Ghanaians, dominating most supermarkets and distribution outlets, particularly in Accra and Kumasi, with fresh chicken. It however went through a period of decline due to major challenges that confronted the domestic poultry industry in the late 1990s, including high cost of feed, inefficiencies across the value chain, high electricity and operational cost, as well as competition from cheap imported poultry products.

As part of Akufo-Addo government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda, being implemented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Darko Farms Company was identified as one of the distressed but potentially viable companies.

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Financial intervention

As a result, the company in 2017 applied to be part of the flagship 1-District-1-Factory initiative. After a comprehensive review by the Technical Support Group of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, an amount of GH¢22.1 million was granted as a loan facility to the company by Ghana EXIM Bank.

The amount was earmarked to revamp the company’s operations. The revival of the operations resulted in the upgrading the plant and equipment retooling the hatchery, feed mill and processing facility, among others.

The company also applied part of the facility to establish an out-grower scheme, where a number of poultry farmers are supported with broiler chicks, feed as well as technical assistance to breed their birds.

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Current state

Darko Farms currently has a processing plant operating at 10,000 birds per day, with one shift, and 20,000 birds per day with two shifts. It has a hatchery with capacity to produce 6-million-day-old chicks a year, breeder farms with a bird population of about 30,000 per batch, a layer farm with capacity of 100,000 per batch, and commercial broiler farms with capacity of 350,000 birds per cycle of eight weeks.

In addition, the company has a feed mill with an installed capacity of 96 metric tons of feed per day, and a storage cold room of 500 metric tons.

Thus far, the company has created direct employment opportunities for some 250 workers, and indirectly for over 500 people, including out-growers, distributors, and transporters. At full operational capacity, the company will directly employ more than 400 workers, with 700 being indirect employment.

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Darko Farms is currently engaged in negotiations with the Mohinani Group to become the major local supplier of processed chicken for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain. KFC through its local supplier has indicated its preparedness to off-take 100,000 birds monthly from Darko Farms under YUM certified conditions.

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