Stakeholders gathered in Asaba to advance the business of smallholder poultry in Nigeria

The 6th meeting of the Smallholder Poultry Forum (SPF) held in the gorgeous Vienna International hotel in Asaba, the Delta state capital, from 10-11 November 2020. The two day hybrid meeting which was attended by stakeholders from across the country took some important decisions which would advance the development of smallholder poultry farming in the country. Many participants who could not come to Asaba participated actively through the live zoom link.

Among the important fallouts of the meeting was the proposal by the SPF executive for take off  of the proposed Smallholder Poultry Innovation Center from the Department of Animal Sciences of Obafemi  Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, using the recently upgraded poultry house and laboratory and the new data warehouse in the Department. These facilities were some of the direct outcomes of the recently concluded  five year study of Nigeria smallholders’ preferred poultry breeds, conducted by team led by Professor Babafunso Sonaiya and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.  Professor Sonaiya retired from Obafemi Awolowo University in October, 2020 and is the initiator and current chairman of SPF.

The meeting also listened to the complaints of many smallholder farmers on the negative impact of the COVID 19 lockdown on their businesses and livelihood.  Many relieved their sad experiences and the fact that the current high prices of dayold chicks, poultry feeds and other inputs still stranglehold their businesses. Forum members deliberated on proper and sustainable ways to alleviate the sufferings of the smallholder poultry farmers.

Pleasant news came from Mr Biodun Okunola of the Development Finance Department in the Central Bank of Nigeria, who made presentation to the meeting via zoom link. He highlighted the several intervention funding options of the Central Bank to support the agricultural sector (poultry inclusive) in Nigeria. He particularly enumerated the support to smallholder poultry farmers through a partnership with Amo Hatchery, state governments and SPF. According to Mr Okunola, the CBN through the Noiler Chicken Expansion Scheme (NoCES) is supporting 50,000 rural women with 1.5 million birds to produce 3,000 tonnes and 5,250 tonnes of poultry meat and eggs, respectively, in the outgoing year 2020.

In closing, the forum listened to the submissions of the different breakout sessions and tasked the administrative office to come up with the course of action for the forum for the next six months from the submissions.

Smallholder Poultry Forum (SPF) was initiated by Professor Babafunso Sonaiya as a fallout of the African Chicken Genetic Gain  project funded by Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation from 2015 – 2019. SPF as a registered NGO in Nigeria is geared towards empowering and creating business opportunities for actors along the Smallholder Poultry Value Chain (SPVC) in Nigeria. Membership is open to all individuals, cooperatives and corporate bodies engaged in SPVC. Current membership is over 100 and includes giants in the poultry industry such as Animal Care Consult Limited, Premier Feed limited, Amo Farms Sieberer and Hatchery Limited, Bdellium Consult Limited, academics, smallholder farmers and a host of cooperatives.

Group photograph of some of the participants of SPF meeting in Asaba
Professor Babafunso Sonaiya (center) with some other participants of SPF meeting in Asaba

The 6th meeting of the SPF was voluntarily and jointly sponsored by Premier Feed limited and Amo Farms Sieberer and Hatchery Limited. LIVESTONEWS,

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