By Adelola Amihere
President of the Poultry Farmers Association (PAN) Mr. Ezekiel Mam has asked poultry farmers not to take advantage of the closure of the border as an avenue to hike prices of poultry products but instead, see it as an opportunity to expand their businesses in other to meet the growing national demand.
This is just as he revealed that the move by the Federal Government has risen production activities in the poultry meat industry to 70 percent from the previous 45 percent pointing out that if the borders remained shut, about 500,000 job opportunities could be created along the broiler meat value chain.
Mam who made the appeal at a World press briefing to commemorate the World Egg Day celebrated on Friday in Abuja, lamented that republic of Benin has been a transit camp for the smuggling of over one million metric tons of frozen chicken into the country for the past ten years.
He said: “We will like to appreciate our members for their perseverance and resilience in operating under harsh economic environment, but with the government gesture of closing the border and other incentives, there is need for our members to reciprocate by creating demand through competitive pricing.
“If prices are reasonable more farmers will come into production and the poultry products will become affordable which invariably will increase consumption, create employment with more revenue for the government because those employed become eligible to pay tax.”
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for the initiative, he also applauded the president for making it possible for the commercial banks to finance agriculture at a single digit interest rate of nine percent as well as the removal of payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) on all agricultural and food products.
He urged the government to allow PAN in the various states be the aggregators for the eggs used in its school feeding programme through out the states as well as initiate the move to have a prisons feeding programme with egg being an integral part of it.