The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) has commenced the enumeration of chickens under commercial operations within the boundaries of Ogun and Oyo states, in an exercise that is planned to last for four days from Thursday 16 July 2020.
According to a release from the Ogun state chapter of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PANOG), the exercise is meant to estimate the quantity of chicken eggs produced in Nigeria using Ogun and Oyo states as the baseline. In Ogun state, 50 farms will be visited in each local government area to arrive at a total of one thousand farms to be enumerated in the state.
The release further states that the exercise is free of charge to the farmers to be visited. Farm premises will also not be entered by the enumerators in order to be biosecurity compliant. Enumerators will simply administer structured questionnaires to farmers outside their premises. PANOG therefore enjoined her members to ensure these conditions are upheld and to also request the enumerators to produce their identification tags.
The enumeration exercise will be supervised by Ogun State Department of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, with active support from Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP) and PANOG. The Department of Veterinary Services had earlier trained the enumerators on the modalities for the exercise.
In a chat with Livestonews, the administrative officer of PANOG, Mr Tayo Oguntola, said the exercise is meant to generate data that would be used to improve the marketing of eggs within and beyond the shores of the country.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is aware of the devastating effect of Covid 19 pandemic as farmers counted their loses in billions. Loses in terms of glut, egg wastage which affected their profit margin and capital outlay. This is about the most trying time for farmers, as they were wallowing in glut, the increase in prices of essential raw materials (Maize and Soya) came, so farmers were burnt at both ends. Not only farmers were affected; employees were laid off as many farmers downsized drastically to about 60% in many farms. The NAQS then picked Oyo & Ogun states to have a random idea of what egg producers are losing for such a long period of the pandemic lock down. The objective is to add value to the eggs in terms of production of quality eggs to world standard, possibly for exportation and/or processed into a form that would not spoil for long periods ( e.g Powdering)”.
NAQS is a regulatory agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was created for the harmonization of Plants, Veterinary and Aquatic resources (fisheries) Quarantine in Nigeria to promote and regulate sanitary (animal and fisheries health) and phytosanitary (plant health) measures in connection with the import and export of agricultural products with a view to minimizing the risk to agricultural economy, food safety and the environment. The main objective of NAQS is to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of animal and zoonotic diseases as well as pests of plants and fisheries including their products.
NAQS has been very proactive in encouraging export of value added agricultural produce under its current Director General, Dr Vincent Isegbe. During his term as Coordinating Director of NAQS, Dr. Isegbe conceived and launched the Export Improvement Initiative, a backward integration intervention designed to increase the volume of export in customary Nigerian agricultural commodities and emerging commodities such as sesame, soya bean, cinnamon, pigeon pea, sugar cane, honey and snail. As part of the Initiative, Nigeria exported 1,983 containers of hibiscus (zobo) flower to Mexico within the first nine (9) months of 2017 and earned US$35 million as a result.
It is envisaged that the current poultry enumeration exercise embarked upon by NAQS will assist the agency to fashion out a sustainable solution to the perennial egg glut in the poultry industry. LIVESTONEWS