The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has again sent a Save–Our–Soul message to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency save the poultry industry from imminent collapse. In a well attended press conference on Tuesday 19 January 2021, the southwest zone of PAN warned that the poultry industry is in a lingering crisis of grains especially Maize and Soya, and if urgent attention is not given, the industry with such an enviable statistics may suffer a total collapse.
In the press release read by the General Secretary of PAN for south west, Dr Olalekan Odunsi, the association claims that over 5 million jobs are threatened by the lingering grain crisis.
“The Poultry Industry in the South West Geo Political Zone is over 6 decades representing more than 60% of the National Poultry Population. In investment, this sector is worth over N2 Trillion Naira. In job creation, it employs over 10 million people directly and indirectly using its wide value chain from farm to table. It is worthy of note that this sector is almost 100% private sector driven.”
“Currently, the jobs of maize and soya bean growers are not in any way threatened because they cannot even meet the huge local demand for their products. However the acute scarcity and astronomical prices of soya beans and maize threaten over five million poultry jobs in the short term except Your Excellency intervenes.”
The current lingering grain crisis appears to have been ignited by the COVID 19 lockdown in March 2020 from when farmers were unable to assess their farms. By July, 2020, the price of maize due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by poultry sector and other users rose from ₦ 105,000 to ₦ 165,000 per ton. To worsen the matter, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize, with the aim to stimulate local production. This policy further pushed the price up to as high as ₦ 185,000/ton.
After much public outcry by the poultry farmers and stakeholders, the federal government allowed a concessionary importation of 262,000 MT of maize, which brought momentary respite to the poultry farmers. Industry watchers who believed that the gesture was grossly inadequate were soon proved right when the November 2020 local harvests grossly failed to meet the expectation of the poultry industry for 2021.
PAN cried out in a press release in November 2020 warning that the poultry industry could be forced to shut down by January 2021 if urgent steps are not taken to address the grain crisis. This prediction seems to be coming true, as prices of poultry feeds has been rising steadily while that of table eggs remains unchanged for more than six months in a row.
PAN in its recent press release identified the root cause of the current grain crisis as follows:
- Shortfall in rainfall while being largely dependent on rain fed agriculture
- Insecurity and Herdsmen challenges which force most farmers out of the field
- Higher demand for maize in the poultry sector due to the Broiler Anchor Borrower Program of the FGN through CBN/NIRSAL
- Illegal export activities of maize and soyabeans
According to PAN south west; currently, Maize sells for ₦ 210,000/MT and Soya Meal ₦ 240,000/MT in most states of the South West.
“Due to the fact that these two items form about 75-78 % of an average poultry ration, the price of poultry feed has continuously been on the increase from about ₦2,750 – ₦3,000/25kg bag in April 2020 to ₦4,850 – ₦5,300/25kg bag today. In December of 2020, most farmers from small to large scales were unable to sell their broiler chickens 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 ₦1,300 per crate even though the farm gate price is still at ₦1,000- ₦ 1,100 per crate, a price that will force farmers to close down.”
Corroborating the press statements, officials and farmers present at the press outing with placards, expressed their agonizing conditions, claiming that many small scale farmers have run out of business, while many big time farmers have died of hypertension because they cannot pay up their loans, and many other employing the tactics of downsizing.
They are worried that the federal government pledge to make available 300,000MT of maize to all the 36 states including the FCT, by the end of February 2021, when in fact Lagos state alone consume about 1.5 million MT would be a drop in the ocean.
In concluding the press statements, PAN southwest made the following urgent pleas.
- The Government to approve urgent importation of Animal Feed Grade of Maize to Sustain the over 50 million layers, 100 million broilers, 1 million breeders, and other classes of poultry until the next harvest season.
- In the interim, Government to enforce a ban on export of Soya, both seed and the processed meal.
- The Governors in the Southwest to put as much efforts to the cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.
- A strong collaboration between Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, Soya Farmers Association of Nigeria and PAN to determine the body’s actual yearly need and assessing the later Yield Vis a Vis her need for proper planning.
- To save the current 10 million jobs in the Poultry Value Chain of the Nigerian Economy.
Present at the press briefing were Lagos state PAN Gen. Sec.: Hon. Folusho Adams; Oyo State PAN chairman: Mr. Bamigboye Agboola; Lagos State PAN chairman: Mr. Godwin Egbebe; Ekiti state PAN chairman: Mr. Bisi Babalola; Osun state PAN chairman: Chief Yemi Olukiran; and PAN South West Gen. Sec.: Dr. Olalekan Odunsi. LIVESTONEWS.
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