The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Delta chapter has urged the Federal Government to save the local poultry industry from folding up due to the rising cost of poultry feed.
PAN Chairman in Delta, Chief Alfred Mrakpor, on Wednesday in Asaba, said that the prices of maize and soybeans, staple inputs for poultry feed production had gone up due to the ban on importation.
He said that a good number of small scale poultry farms had folded up as a result of the exorbitant prices of critical ingredients in poultry feed formulation.
According to Mrakpor, a tonne of maize which used to sell for N97,000 now goes for N165,000, while soybeans has increased from N110, 000 per tonne to N123,000 in the last few months.
He said that the gains, which the farmers bought when the government placed a ban on importation of poultry products, had been eroded by the high costs of inputs.
“It is heartbreaking to see that small farmers are falling out of business and by extension increasing the poverty level of the citizenry.
“This is not the expectations of our members and we are all negatively affected by the galloping price of maize by the merchants without any remorse.
“The benefits of the ban by the Federal Government on frozen chicken on the local industry will be eroded, except the exorbitant price of maize and soybeans, a major component of poultry feed is checked.
“Over the last two years, the local broiler industry has boomed with a positive effect on food sufficiency for Nigeria.
“This has been largely aided by the ban on imports of frozen chicken; we see this great achievement being rolled back if local broiler production is threatened,” Mrakpor said.
He, however, appealed to the government to allow the importation of maize, adding that the maize production was unable to keep up with the local demand.
Mrakpor noted that invoices and local purchase orders were no longer respected by maize dealers, adding that this development was a huge challenge to the small-scale poultry farmers.
He said the rising cost of maize and the attendant scarcity was capable of threatening the nation’s food security and that apart from the poultry farmers, other actors in the value chain were also at risk.
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow immediate importation of maize into Nigeria, since our local maize farmers cannot meet up with the demand of maize required by its consumers.
“The rising cost of maize is threatening livelihoods of small businesses in Nigeria.
“It is not only poultry farmers’ investments that are threatened, but also other players in the value chain.
“Feed producers, chicken and egg vendors, processors, grain traders, veterinary, drug vendors among others thus plunging the economy into deeper crisis,” he said.