Poultry industry in Nigeria may collapse soon, which will culminate into gross scarcity of eggs and chickens, if the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and governors failed to take appropriate steps to address the looming danger.
The alarm was raised on Tuesday during a press conference addressed by leadership of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) from six states in the South West – Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti States as well as a state in the North Central, Kwara.
The speakers, who converged on the press centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, included the association’s General Secretary, South West, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi; chairmen of the association, Godwin Egbebe (Lagos); Bisi Babalola (Ekiti); Yemi Olukiran (Osun); Gbemisoye Agboola (Oyo); Rev Gideon Oluleye (Ondo) represented by Mr. Damian Ogunbo, Secretary; Idowu Asenuga (Ogun), represented by Mrs. Blessing Alawode; and Ojo Akinwunmi (Kwara).
The association identified scarcity of maize and soybeans, being used to produce poultry feeds, as the factors that would usher in the menace, adding that 10million jobs in the poultry value chain of the Nigerian economy would be lost if pragmatic steps are not taken to address the challenges.
The association’s General Secretary, South West, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi, said: “The poultry industry in the South West Geo Political Zone is over six decades, growing consistently and steadily to a population of 30million, a number representing more than 60 per cent of the National Poultry Population.
“In investment, this sector is worth over N2trillion. In job creation, it employs over 10million people directly and indirectly, using its wide value chain from farm to field. It is worthy of note that this sector is almost 100 per cent private driven.
“However, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains, especially maize and soya, we fear that an industry with such an enviable statistics may suffer a total collapse.”
He stated that about July, 2020, “the price of maize due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by poultry sector and other users, rose from a price of N105,000 – N165,000. In the midst of this hike in price, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize, which further drove the price to as high as N185,000/TON.”
The poultry farmers’ in the seven states, however, appealed to the Federal Government to approve urgent importation of animal feed grade of maize to sustain the over 50million layers, 100million broilers, one million breeders, and other classes of poultry, until the next harvest season.
“In the interim, government should enforce a ban on export of soya, both seed and the processed meal. The governors in the South West should put as much efforts to the cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.”
Odunsi noted that “As at today, maize is N210,000/MT in most states of the South West, Soya Meal N240,000/MT. Due to the fact that these two items form about 75-78 per cent of an average poultry ration, the price of poultry feed has continuously been on the increase from about N2,750 -N3,000 in April 2020 to N4,850-N5,300 today.
“In December 2020, most farmers, from small to large, were unable to sell their broilers because the cost of production was even higher than what an average Nigerian can afford. Presently, egg is going out of the reach of an average family with ideal price at N1,300 per crate but the farm gate price is still at N1000-N1,100, a price that will force farmers to close down.”