• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Poultry association, Customs intensify efforts against frozen chicken smuggling

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The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) intends to create a task force to monitor activities of smugglers of frozen chicken, which is one of the major challenges of farmers who rear broilers (birds produced for table meat). Importation of poultry meat has been banned for over a decade now, but the commodity still floods the Nigerian market with dealers selling it openly.

As this smuggled product is over-subsidised in it countries of origin with foreign producers also enjoying adequate infrastructure support and employment, majority of the Nigerian producers of poultry who do not have the same infrastructure support have a hard time competing on price.

In addition, the country’s borders have made it easy for the activities of smugglers to thrive. However, in the last few months, PAN, working with the Nigerian Customs, has achieved some measure of success in making the smuggling of poultry products more difficult for smugglers. Majority of poultry farmers in Nigeria still perceive production of broilers a risky business, because the amount of cheap poultry products smuggled into the country is still very significant. Therefore, these farmers have concentrated on production and daily sales of eggs, while live or frozen birds are sold mainly at festive periods.

If PAN is able to make good its promise to stop or reduce significantly the quantity of smuggled poultry products, the chances of success of broiler farmers would increase. In spite of the infrastructure challenges, expectedly more investments in daily sales of live or frozen chicken produced within the country would be a reality as a result.

A board made up of the top hatcheries and feed millers in Nigeria, formerly in existence but defunct, would also be reconstituted by the PAN. The board would be made up of all the top hatcheries and feed millers in Nigeria, and would be saddled with the responsibility of collecting check-off dues on pullet (young hens) and day old broiler chicks produced by all the hatcheries in the country.

Contributions would also be collected from feed millers, according to Ayoola Oduntan, national president of the PAN, at the association’s summit held in Lagos recently. He said 20 percent of the funds collected would be remitted to PAN, while 80 percent would be administered by the board for adverts, promotions, research and development. Similar dues are paid in India and Brazil, with 3 percent and 5 percent charged on every pullet sold by hatcheries.

At the summit, farmers and agro-allied investors were encouraged to form or strengthen their associations so as to access funds from commercial banks through the Nigeria Incentive-based Risking Sharing System of Agricultural Lending.