Lack of awareness on the nutritional benefits of eggs and ignorance on the part of potential consumers are the major cause of perennial egg glut in the poultry industry in Nigeria. This is the consensus opinion of some experts during a recent webinar meeting monitored by Livestonews on 20th June 2020. The meeting, which was organized by Farm Alert, a livestock consultancy oufit, had Drs Olatunde Agbato, Stephen Adejoro and Baba Wageti as lead speakers..
Dr Olatunde Agbato, who is president and founder of Animal Care Konsult limited, said the eggs being produced in the country at the moment do not amount to what should be consumed by a population of over 200 million people.
“Nigeria is not producing enough quantity of eggs to meet up what should be the egg consumption rate in the country currently. The problem is low consumption which is caused by ignorance of the numerous benefits of eating eggs”. The president of one of the largest livestock conglomerates in the country said egg glut will continue to occur until there is an innovative marketing approach to match demand with supply. The industry guru, who was a pioneer member and former president of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) advised that the association should be restructured to give recognition to it’s divisions such as Commercial Egg Producers Association of Nigeria to enable them drive home their point under one big umbrella body.
Dr Agbato concluded by calling on farmers to find a way to develop a database that will indicate the number of commercial layer farms and their capacities in order to have reliable information and projection on the quantity of eggs produced at any given period.
Dr Stephen Adejoro, the president and founder of Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa, LIFA, who was also a guest speaker on the programme stated that only efficient production backed by growing and sustainable market can solve the problem of egg glut and bring about profitability in the commercial egg production business. He advocated for awareness creation on the health benefits of eggs especially the presence of immunoglobulin Y that can help the body in the fight against infections including COVID-19. This he said, could be done through encouraging domestic consumption of diverse indigenous recipes where egg would be a common ingredient.
He called on the Poultry Association of Nigeria to take a cue from Ghana which through advocacy and promotional strategies raised the per capita consumption of eggs from 20 eggs to 80 eggs, showing an increase of 300% in internal consumption.
“We must push per capita demand of eggs beyond the current 65 eggs to about 125 eggs by encouraging more diversified indigenous egg recipes. With the country’s population of 200 million people, per capita consumption of 125 eggs will translate to 25 billion eggs which can mop up our total annual egg production”
Dr Adejoro, who is an international livestock consultant called for unity of purpose among egg producers through funding of research, market promotion and advocacy as these will help in bringing an end to the perennial problem of egg glut. He also used the medium to announce that LIFA has created ten indigenous egg recipes that would be used for further advocacy on egg consumption in the country,
Earlier in his opening remarks, the marketing manager of Adamore Nigeria limited, Dr Baba Wageti lamented the losses experienced by poultry farmers year in year out.
“Farmers are like shock absorbers that carry the load of drugs and vaccine suppliers, feed millers and other input suppliers making them happy while the farmers themselves are not happy as they go through losses”.
Dr Wageti, who is a consultant to several large poultry farms in the country stated that as at 1997, the price of a crate of eggs was higher than that of a crate of coke drink. But today, the price of a crate of coke is more than double the price of a crate of eggs despite the known disadvantages that come with high level of coke consumption. Coca Cola, he said, has been able to scale up the price of coke through aggressive marketing over the years.
He stated that a general survey indicates that fifty percent of people above 50 years old in Nigeria do not eat eggs and they cite doctor’s advice as their reason. On the contrary, research carried out in advanced countries show that egg is more of a medicine than food in these countries. He challenged Nigerian researchers to domesticate such researches rather than conclude on mythical basis that egg consumption is hazardous to health.
Dr Femi Kayode, the meeting convener and the CEO of Farm Alert, offered to collaborate with PAN to produce online forms that would be filled by farmers to capture their production capacity at every point. He said data generated via this process will be used in driving a marketing strategy.
It could be recalled that egg glut resurfaced in the poultry sector when government imposed lock down in some states in the country to curtail the outbreak of COVID-19. Poultry farmers were literally burying their eggs despite reduced prices during the period. This prompted Farm Alert to get stakeholders together and initiated online discussions to find lasting solution to the problem. However at the moment, the glut appears to have eased in most states but farmers are still not making adequate profit due to increased cost of poultry inputs such as feed and drugs.
Some industry watchers are of the opinion that the glut is still very much around but the impact is not much felt due to reduced total egg production brought about by farmers who could no longer feed their birds without income and had to sell them off. LIVESTONEWS.