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The poultry industry serves as employment and a source of income to many people but for a long time, marketing has not been critically considered by most industry players as important aspect of the poultry business. All attention is focused on the production aspect whilst marketing is relegated to the background. The main objective of the study was to find the challenges and prospects of marketing poultry and poultry products in Kumasi by using Akate Farms Trading and Company Limited as a case study. The study sought to find answers to issues like the major constrains of poultry production and marketing in the Kumasi metropolis, the causes of the constraints, how it can be alleviated and the prospects of the poultry market. The data for the study were collected through sets of questionnaires administered to respondents, as well as interviews, personal observations, focus group discussion with key stakeholders and telephone conversation with actors in the industry. For this study, judgmental sampling technique was used to select respondents and data collected was analysed by the use of Microsoft Excel. The study revealed that the growth of Akate Farms Trading and Company Limited is likely to decline if the challenges such as fluctuating price of maize, high interest rate on loans, government‟s failure to protect the local industry by enacting laws to check the importation of cheap foreign poultry products and lack of subsidies on agric inputs like feed, drugs, equipment and several others are not addressed by the company and other stake holders. From the study, it was revealed that Akate Farms Trading and Company Limited does a lot of marketing but it has no defined marketing plans to address challenges in the industry. It also does not conduct marketing research. It was concluded that if Akate Farms fails to draw marketing plans and conduct marketing research, it will be overtaken by the marketing challenges in the industry especially in the Kumasi metropolis. Among the several recommendations made were that the company should not be afraid of competitions from local and foreign producers. Rather it should adopt marketing plans which will help maintain and expand its market share.
1.1 Background of the Study
The poultry industry serves as a source of employment and a source of income to many people. It provides quick turn over on capital to investors. This has led to the setting up of commercial and many backyard poultry farms in Kumasi metropolis to contribute to the total amount of meat and egg production in the country.
Brannius (1997), however, reports that the interest of people in the industry and the effort of the government are gradually being killed, due to prevalence of diseases and poor marketing strategies which are regarded major constraints in the industry.
World wide consumption of poultry produced over the years could increase if there were effective marketing strategies in place with respect to production and sales, the industry could continue to attract a lot more investments. The benefits which the nation derives from the poultry industry cannot be overemphasised. It provides employment, source of income and foreign exchange, which in turn contributes to the country‟s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It provides food security and protein sufficiency for poor countries (Lathan, 1997). Unfortunately, the industry in the Kumasi metropolis faces a lot of challenges and its prospects are dwindling.
Despite the challenges confronting the poultry business and for that matter its marketing, there is still light at the end of the tunnel if the players in the industry like Akate Farms will be focused, work hard and develop better production and marketing
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In every business enterprise, it is always said that the production is not ended until the goods have reached the final consumer. This clearly underscores the fact that merely producing poultry birds and the other products is simply not enough because marketing is needed to make the cycle complete. Marketing here simply means finding out what customers want and supplying it effectively at a profit.
For a long time, marketing has not been critically considered by most industry players as important aspect of the poultry business. All attention is focused on the production aspect whilst marketing is relegated to the background. Customers and consumers however expect poultry to be a constant product, not changing with season, time of day or severity of rains.
Marketing of poultry and poultry products is subject to the laws of demand and supply. An over supply will lead to a fall in price and profitability whereas an undersupply will lead to a high price and high profit to the disadvantage of valued customers. However, in a situation of competition the customer may purchase other products rather than the traditional product. This means consumers can not be loyal forever. There is a standard of quality which the poultry market demands. Customers and consumers will not return to buy more if the product is unwholesome. At the point of purchase, quality relates to presentation much more than anything else. An assessment of product quality by customers and consumers may be fairly subjective if not almost unreasonable. In the poultry marketing practice, customers and consumers may be attracted by the colour of the meat. They may even look at the colour of the wrapper before they buy the product.
Marketing of eggs for example becomes a problem when transporting them from one town to another in vehicles. Breakages as well as cracks appear on the eggs as a result of driving errors on rough roads. If this happens consumers and customers will refuse to buy the product. This is a marketing problem which Akate Farms should address. Akate Farms has taken consumers and marketing of poultry products for granted simply because it is one of the market leaders in the Kumasi metropolis .The problem is, without taking marketing and marketing research seriously, it is doubtful if Akate Farms can continue to maintain its market share and be a market leader in the Kumasi metropolis.
1.3 Research Objectives
To be able to critically examine the challenges and prospects of marketing poultry and poultry products in Kumasi, this study seeks to achieve the following specific objectives;
1. to identify the main marketing challenges that Akate Farms faces in its attempt to maintain its market share in the metropolis.
2. to find out how Akate Farms can address the marketing challenges it faces. 3. to determine the marketing prospects of Akate farms
1.4 Research Questions
The following are the questions the study seeks to answer in order to achieve the research objectives;
1. what is the market share of Akate Farms in the Kumasi metropolis?
2. what are the major marketing constraints and challenges that face Akate Farms in its effort to be a market leader in the Kumasi metropolis?
3. can Akate farms continue to maintain its market share in the Kumasi metropolis
4. how can Akate Farms overcome its marketing constraints and challenges to maintain or even build upon its market share and become a market leader in the metropolis?
5. what will be the future prospects of Akate Farms if its able to address its marketing challenges and problems?
1.5 Purpose of the Study
The poultry industry is plagued with several challenges which should be seriously looked at.
This study has tried to look at the challenges and prospects of marketing poultry and poultry products so as to provide some ways of overcoming them.
The Study is intended secondary, to add to existing knowledge on the poultry industry and to serve as a secondary source of data for further studies.
Indeed, Akate Farms stands to benefit immensely from this study since it is bringing out the numerous challenges that confront it as an industrial player, and also suggest ways of overcoming these identified challenges.
Up and coming poultry farmers can also use the results of the study as a guide to avoid likely pitfalls in the poultry business.
To the country as a whole, as the challenges are overcome and poultry production and marketing are enhanced, the industry has the potential of employing more people and thereby helping to reduce the problem of unemployment in the country. It will reduce the cost of marketing poultry and poultry products in Ghana and customers and consumers will benefit from it. This will also improve the balance of payment position of the country through export.
1.6 Scope of the Research
The research does not cover everything about the poultry industry. It focuses mainly on marketing of poultry and poultry products especially the challenges associated with marketing of the products to customers and consumers.
Since the emphasis is on the marketing of the products, the study will examine the relevance of marketing in the poultry industry and in particular it will identify what goes into product quality as well as how to meet consumer and customer needs and wants in the product. It will identify the marketing challenges and constraints, how to make the industry profitable and how to ensure that it contributes its fair share to the country‟s
GDP and the economy as a whole.
1.7 Research Methodology
The research is a field study and it is designed to collect data from primary and secondary sources. In respect of the primary sources, questionnaires and interviews will be conducted among sampled respondents selected from relevant research population to provide responses.
Observations, face-to-face discussions and telephone conversations with focused groups and key stakeholders will also be used as research instruments to provide data. Secondary sources of data will also come from books, journals, magazines, newspapers
The data collected will be analysed using tables, figures and graphs which will require the use of Microsoft Excel.
1.8 Organisation of the Study
The study is organised into five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction with sub- topics such as Background of the study, problem statement, the research objectives and questions, purpose, scope, research methodology, organisation of the study and limitations of the study.
Chapter two provides pertinent literature on poultry production and marketing. Chapter three deals with the methodology of the study. Chapter four focuses on data presentation and analysis whiles chapter five ends the study with findings, conclusion and recommendations.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
As in any academic study, the researcher encountered some financial and logistic problems. Transportation cost, cost of research materials, cost of engagement of two research assistants as wells as cost of printing were quite high.
Time constraint was another problem encountered by the researcher due to other academic assignments as well as the fact that the researcher is a full-time worker pursuing academic laurels. Other constraints were the difficulties associated with data collection since some respondents were not prepared to give out some vital information due to reasons best known to them.
The study was limited to poultry marketing because industry players think that marketing relates to only buying and selling. They do not concern themselves about how to improve quality of products, how to use consumer satisfaction and care packages to attract, recruit and retain consumers.
The study was limited to Akate Farms because the company has relied heavily on investment capital rather than using marketing research and practices to maintain and even build on its market share in the Kumasi metropolis.
The fear is that without emphasis on marketing research, a time will come when the company will decline rather than grow and expand in the Kumasi metropolis.
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