Poultry Association calls for maize price stabilisation to prevent industry collapse

…seeks partnership with Benin Republic

The Poultry Association of Nigeria, Lagos chapter has called on the federal government to ensure the stabilisation of maize prices in the country to help revive the subsector.

The farmers who spoke during the two-day annual symposium themed ‘Post Covid-19 Effects On Poultry Industry: Way Out’ said prices of maize – a key input in feed production, have been making rapid climbs since 2018, thus, causing frustration for farmers and forcing many to shut down their poultry business.

Godwin Egbebe, chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter in his welcome address said maize prices were relatively stable in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic when the Central Bank intervened by ensuring an adequate supply of maize across markets.

“The Covid-pandemic affected all the sectors of the economy but that of poultry is more devastating because our own business is more volatile compared to other businesses,” he said.

“A metric ton of maize we bought for N160, 000 two years ago when the CBN intervened and gave us some maize and that stabilised the market for a very long while is now sold for N270,000 after two years post-Covid 19.

He said farmers are finding it difficult at the moment and, if the situation persists without adequate support from the government to stabilize maize prices, more farmers will be forced to abandon their farms, leading to threats of food insecurity.

According to him, the worsening insecurity in the country is threatening maize production, as farmers can no longer access their farmlands.

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He urged the government to tackle the high rate of banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism in the country so that farmers can carry out their duties without any form of fear.

He also called on the government to subsidise the prices of maize so that poultry businesses can stay afloat, while also ensuring employment for employees in the industry.

Similarly, Egbebe asked the government to seek a partnership with the government of the Benin Republic for the supply of day-old chicks. According to him, the Benin Republic market creates the opportunity for players in the hatchery subsector.

Speaking on some of the interventions currently provided to the poultry industry, Oluranti Sagoe-Oviebo, Lagos state project coordinator of APPEALS said the project is collaborating with PAN on different levels.

“We bring farmers with off-takers together to ensure that there is a guaranteed market for them. Once the market is guaranteed you find out that farmers will always produce.”

She encouraged the farmers to look inwards that Lagos has a large expanse of land that is not tapped into.

“Our farmers can even go into the production of maize and then beyond that, we have collaboration with a research institute where we can all come together and look for new technologies that can help our farmers,” she said.

“Today, we are supporting PAN with an egg-powered machine where they can change their eggs into powder. That will help to address the issue of glut in the industry,” she noted.

“We may not be able to use the egg powder in the pharmaceutical industry for now but we can use it in the confectionery industry, cosmetics industry,” she added.

George Taninonwo, head of integrated livestock in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lagos state who represented the Lagos State Commissioner said, “we believe that Covid 19 dealt seriously in all industry in agriculture, especially in poultry and the impact on poultry is well felt because of its numerous contribution in terms of the protein as well as income employing all and sundry.”

“Getting out of Covid, there is a need to buckle up and fill the gaps that have existed.”