Nigeria’s poultry industry may be forced to shut down as the country welcomes the New Year, farmers have warned.
The National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim, said that the industry could shut down as early as January 2021 if the Muhammadu Buhari government fails to address the high cost of grains and other challenges facing the industry.
“In view of the above negative impacts and disaster that will befall the Nigeria poultry industry if urgent actions are not taken immediately by the government, the industry might be forced to shut down completely by January 2021,” Ibrahim told journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
“The present atmosphere and scenario of things are very alarming and critical.”
“In the post-COVID-19 and the lockdown that followed, the poultry industry suffered devastating losses occasioned by the restriction of movement of goods and services, which include eggs, day-old chicks, poultry feeds, and other essential inputs for poultry production.
“Billions of naira were lost in sales of eggs and chicken resulting in the closure of many small and medium-sized poultry farms.
“With the attendant fallouts and the grains supply situation in the country, the prices of maize went up from N95,000 per tonne to N165,000 per tonne in June 2020.
“Maize as at today (November 26) is selling between N145,000 – N160,000 per tonne as against the price of N85,000 per tonne this time last year.”
“The government supported the industry with the release of 5,000 metric tonnes of maize at subsidised prices expecting that the price of maize will fall or stabilise during the harvest season.
“The reason for scarcity and the hike in cost is due to the insecurity in the country, climate change and activities of traders buying and hoarding of the grains.
“More worrisome at the moment is the soybeans supply and demand situation in the country, which is scarce and near absent in the Nigerian markets.
“Intelligence and field reports have also indicated that the soybeans in seeds and meals are being exported out of the country, thereby causing the present crisis being witnessed.
“Soybean is selling between N215,000-N250,000 per tonne as at today where available.
“The poultry industry feed cost is about 75 per cent of the cost of poultry production and this has risen by over 75 percent between March and November 2020.
“In March, the price of finished feed sold between N2,650 and N3,000 is now selling between N4,600 – N5,300 per 25kg bag.”
“Divestments in the poultry sector due to lack of investors’ confidence, devastating fall of fortunes in the entire value chains of the industry and the seeming crimes that will follow,” he said.
“Significant drop in the contribution of poultry to the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of the national economy thereby negating the government drive for agricultural transformation.”
He advised the government to “halt with immediate effect the export of soybeans as well maize, so as to protect the local food systems and security.
“Partially keep the borders open for markets in agriculture and essential food products in a transparent and predictable manner, but not the export of under-produced foods either formally or informally,” he said.
According to him, “the resultant effect of the situation is closure of small and medium-sized poultry farms thereby threatening about 5 million to 10 million jobs, especially at the peri-urban and rural areas.
He suggested also that the government should “allow the immediate importation of soybeans and maize the city as a stop-gap measure to mitigate the impending doom in the world poultry industry.”