Demand for domesticated grass-cutter soars

Business News of Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Source: B&FT

Grasscutter

…price up 67%

The price of domesticated grass-cutter has risen sharply on the back of increasing demand for farm-reared meat as ardent consumers shift their consumption pattern to home-bred grass-cutter in wake of the Ebola scare.

Information available to B&FT indicates that grass-cutter farmers are cashing in on the growing demand for domesticated grass-cutter as against wild ones — whose consumption has reduced significantly following the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that has claimed thousands of lives.

Over the past year, the price of domesticated grass-cutter has increased by about 67 percent from GH¢90 to GH¢150 as fears over Ebola — a severe haemorrhagic fever that is thought to be transmitted to people from wild animals — has forced meat consumers to be wary of consuming bush meat.

Techiman-based grass-cutter farmer, Bernard Bempah, who is also CEO of Bemcom Youth Enterprises Skills Training Centre, explained to the B&FT that the Ebola scare has discouraged many farmers from grass-cutter rearing business, which has impacted negatively on production at a time consumers have changed their preference for wild grass-cutter to home-bred ones.

He said the supply deficit is what has caused the prices of the meat to up so much.

Mr. Bempah revealed that until the virus’ outbreak, the Centre used to train about ten farmers every week in grass-cutter keeping; but between July-December 2014 it trained only 50 people in the trade.

He said grass-cutter rearing was one of the most lucrative aspects of agriculture until the infamous Ebola story, and prayed that the virus is thoroughly controlled in order for the business to rebound.

Access to intense extension services, he noted, is virtually not available to farmers in the sector. According to him, since 1998 when German International Corporation (GIZ) facilitated the training of some Extension Officers in grass-cutter rearing in the country, there has not been any training for agric officers to help farmers.

Most of the officers who received the technical training, he indicated, are no more in active service, adding: “Farmers now have to rely on their individual unscientific skills and practices to stay afloat in the business”.

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