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Chicken shortage looms as poultry farmers shut down over high cost of feeds

Africa’s most populous country may experience a chicken shortage during the festive period as farmers shut down poultry farms over the high cost of feeds and other key inputs.

Kingsley Imasuen, chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Edo chapter opined that there may be a price hike of poultry products ahead of the festive period consequent upon the prevailing issue of ingredients used in feed production.

Imasuen, in an interview with BusinessDay in Benin City, said “with several challenges confronting the poultry markets, there may be a situation where there will be shortage of chickens or eggs during the Christmas.

“We are already experiencing shortages ahead of the Christmas season. As of now, there are a lot of small farmers that have shut down their business. The only people in the market are those doing large production.

“The cost of inputs like feeds, drugs and vaccines are very expensive. So, most of the small farmers are folding up. But the large ones are surviving because they are producing and getting the benefits of large-scale production. There is no way people will not take chickens.

“Eggs, for example, are used for different confectioneries such as cakes, egg rolls, and many others. So, there is no way they can cut it off even if it is expensive.”

Read also: Leadway ready to support farmers affected by herders’ encroachments

The chairman said the Bank of Industry (BOI) has created an avenue for farmers to borrow at a nine percent interest rate but “it will significantly affect the production of eggs in March, next year because they just gave us the money”.

According to him, the inputs, particularly maize and soya beans, are very expensive, hence the rising prices of birds and that’s why many businesses have ceased to operate because they are not able to cope.

“The price of maize is very high; it costs N180 per kg while that of soya beans is N300 per kg. The cost of feed also affected that of eggs, and that’s why a crate of eggs sells between N1,800 and N2,000 while a single egg goes for N80 to consumers,” Imasuen said.

Market survey shows that the prices of a variety of feeds namely top grower, finisher and layer are N5,350, N6,450, and N5,650 respectively, which was N200 higher when compared to last October.

While that hybrid of the three different above-mentioned feeds are sold for N5,000, N6,150, and N5,400.

It was also observed that the price of a kg of a broiler chicken ranges between N2,000 and N2,200 while 5kg sells for more than N10,000.

Ogbes Gabriel, manager, Elect Agric, who deals in poultry feeds and medications, attributed the substantial price increase of poultry products to insecurity, cost of transportation and lack of raw materials such as maize which he said constitutes a larger proportion for producing feed.

“Nowadays, it is difficult to get maize and soya beans from the northern part of the country because of security problems. As a result, some feed mill companies are shutting down while others have reduced their workforce,” Gabriel said.

He, therefore, appealed to the government to support maize cultivation in other parts of Nigeria so that there will be more raw materials to produce the much-needed quantity of feed.

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