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Poultry Farmers Calls for Government Support, Laments Potential Industry Collapse

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CEM REPORT, AGROFOOD | Poultry products have seemed to be on a steady rise in recent times, although the logical explanation would be the current state of the nation and global economy. Certainly, other factors like banditry and importation costs are contributing factors. The poultry industry is at the edge of collapse even with the increase in retail prices of the products according to poultry farmers.

The Lagos State Chapter of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has called on the federal and state government to wade into the current challenges of poultry farmers in the current. The farmers alleged that the availability and prices of key materials ranging from maize, soya and wheat, are beyond their reach.

The Chairman of Lagos Chapter of PAN, Iyiola Mojeed, noted that the larger share of the materials used in Nigeria’s poultry industry is sourced within the country – the north, he pointed out that the quantity demanded had dropped yet price increased, sighting that banditry has driven most of the farmers away from their farms.

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“Maize can be produced all year round in Nigeria. The larger chunk of the maize used in our industry is sourced from the northern part of the country and as we all know, the issue of banditry has driven most of the farmers away from their farms, many of them have relocated to other regions and engage in other economic activities like many seen in Lagos riding “Okada” this is seriously affecting the industry.”

While stating that the production of eggs and other poultry products is at risk in the country, he elaborated that a sizeable percentage of poultry farmers in Lagos State have closed down their farms as a result of losses daily. Mojeed lamented that more farms will follow suit as retail prices don’t meet production costs except the government intervenes.

“About 30 to 40 per cent of big poultry farmers in Lagos State have closed down their farms because they make losses on a daily basis. We cannot overemphasise the importance of our industry because our presence affects virtually every human life, starting from the foetus, male and female old and young.

“As I tell you now, so many farms are widely closed. Many are still closing, and many want to close because they cannot meet up. Imagine the price of a crate of egg being sold at N2000 to N3000 that is way below production cost.”

In the call for the saving of the industry, the Lagos Chapter of PAN noted that eggs have become the preferred substitute since meat and fish outweighed the pocket of the average Nigerian.

Mojeed proposed a stopgap solution to address this problem prevent a total collapse of the industry and increase profitability.

“We are calling upon the government to please help in the insurance of soya and other ingredients that will make us have cheaper products so we can produce well for the whole citizenry.

“So we are crying to governments at local, state and federal levels to protect this industry from total collapse because if the problems we are facing now are not addressed immediately, it could lead to the total collapse of the industry.”

With the unemployment rate at 4.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023, the possibility of an increase in the figure abounds if more poultry farmers shut down business.

With the increasing demand for eggs and festivity around the corner the poultry industry requires savings like any other industry in the country. Government at every level have placed keen attention on agricultural farming, providing loans and fertiliser for these farmers. While poultry farmers may not be considered essential farmers they play a major role.

The Poultry Association of Nigeria reports that the average price of maize in the nation increased by 110.9 per cent to ₦480,000 per tonne in August from ₦227,500 per tonne in June, the largest monthly increase recorded.

According to data from the International Grain Council, a metric tonne of maize sells for $216.82, which is equal to ₦216,820 using the current black market currency rate. This shows that local maize prices are ₦285,600 more expensive than the current international price. However, this is difficult for farmers to access due to scarcity of FX and restrictive policies m

Feed accounts for 70 per cent of the cost of production for poultry farmers and any hike in the prices of maize and soybean will push up farmers’ production costs.

The country’s livestock subsector, which is dominated by poultry, contracted by 30.57 per cent in the first quarter of 2023 from 5.55 per cent in the corresponding quarter in 2022.

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