By Adelola Amihere
Except urgent steps are taken to salvage the current situation there are indications that the Nigerian Poultry industry may shut down production by January 2021, the President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Ezekiel Ibrahim has warned.
The dire situation is connected with the high increase in the prices of maize and Soya Beans which are the main composition of feeds used for poultry production.
Currently a ton of maize that cost N85,000 at this time last year now sells between N145,000 -N160,000 per ton, while the price of soya beans has risen from N130,000 to between N215,000-250,000. This has pushed the price of feeds that was around N3,000 in March to about N4,600-N5,300.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, Ibrahim said the reason being adduced for the scarcity and high cost of soybeans and maize in the country is the insecurity situation, climate change and activities by traders who buy and hoard the grain.
According to him, small and medium sized poultry farms who are the major players in the industry are shutting down thereby threatening about 5-10 million jobs at the urban and rural areas
To salvage the situation, the association called on the government to immediately halt the export of Soybeans and Soya meals as well as protect the local food systems and security, adding that there is need to allow immediate importation of soybeans and maize into the country as a stop gap measure to mitigate the impending doom in the country.
They also called on the government to partially open the border open for markets in agriculture and critical food products in transparent and predictable manner.
Also speaking, the General Manager Premier Feed Mills Austin Dalyop lamented that the dire situation in the industry said the quality of Nigerian soybeans, being a non-GMO product has placed the grain on high demand in the international markets, saying the scarcity of the feed mill component had made it impossible for smallholder poultry Farmers to who are the bedrock of the industry to maintain their presence.