BusinessDay

Poultry farmers raise alarm over high cost maize

... says 5 million job loss looms

Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in South West on Tuesday lamented the high cost of maize saying serious hunger may hit the country, if nothing is done within a stipulated period of time.

The association also noted that, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains especially maize and soya beans, about five million of its members may lose their jobs soon.

The association said many of its members have been indebted while many have closed down their businesses as a result of the high cost of feeds.

General Secretary, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Olalekan Odunsi, with Chairmen across the six states of the southwest are; Godwin Egbebe (Lagos),Bisi Babalola (Ekiti), Hemi Olukiran (Osun), Damian Ogunbo, (Ondo), Blessing Alawode (Ogun), Gbemisoye Agboola (Oyo) and Ojo Akinwunmi (Kwara) addressed the press in Ibadan

At a press conference held at NUJ,Iyaganku, Odunsi said “the Poultry industry in the South West geopolitical zone is over 6 decades growing consistently and steadily to a population of 30 million, a number representing more than 60% of the National Poultry Population.

“In investment, this sector is worth over N2 Trillion Naira. In job creation, it employs over 10 million people directly and indirectly using its wide value chain from farm to field. It is worthy of note that this sector is almost 100% private driven.

“However, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains especially maize and Soya, we fear that an industry with such an enviable statistics may suffer a total collapse.

“About July, 2020, the price of maize due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by Poultry Sector and other users, rose from a price of 105000 – 165000. In the midst of this hike in price, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize which further drove the price to as high as 185000/TON.

Presently, egg is going out of the reach of an average family with ideal price at N1300 per crate but the farm gate price is still at N1000-N1100 a price that will force farmers to close down.

“The government should approve urgent importation of Animal Feed Grade of Maize to Sustain the over 50million layers, 100million broilers, 1million breeders, and other classes of poultry until the next harvest season.

In the interim, Odunsi urged the government to enforce a ban on export of Soya beans both seed and the processed meal. Principal among the reasons for the ban was to encourage local production.

‘Yet the acute scarcity and astronomical prices of soya beans and maize threaten an additional five million poultry jobs in the short term except Your Excellency intervenes.

The sectary general who lamented shortfall in rainfall, illegal export activities, hersmen and insecurity challenges as factors affecting farming in the region however called on Governors in the Southwest need to put as much efforts to cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.

Odunsi said; “There should be strong collaboration between Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, Soya Farmers Association of Nigeria and PAN to determine the body’s actual yearly need and assessing the later Yield Vis-a-Vis her need for proper planning. To save the current 10million jobs in the Poultry Value Chain of the Nigerian Economy, the governors need to act now.”

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