• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

How high costs of inputs is crippling poultry business

Akwa Ibom moves to reactivate state hatchery to boost poultry production

Nigerian poultry industry has come under tremendous pressure as farmers suffered severe losses owing to surge in key inputs.

The prices of inputs are surging owing to foreign exchange (FX) volatility as most of the vaccines and drugs used in the country’s livestock industry are imported.

“Prices of drugs for poultry birds are on the increase and considering that most of these drugs are imported. The value of naira to the dollar has a major impact,” the CEO of a Lagos-based poultry farm said.

Olamide Olaitan, a student who is also a poultry farmer said: “Diseases can affect your turnout. It can also affect how the birds lay eggs (whether they will come out big or small). If your layers are not healthy, they will not be able to convert the feeds well to produce the eggs you are expecting of them”.

“I was told today that a crate of eggs is N2,400 which I bought some weeks/months ago for N1,800. I’m not surprised because I know how it is on the field, I know the challenges that the birds face,” Olaitan added.

Purchasing power has also dropped. Cash-strapped Nigerians cannot afford to pay for what it will cost farmers to increase their production. “And farmers who need to keep buying to enhance production are already running at a loss,” he said.

Aina, trying to explain how things really work with the poultry birds, said: “You can’t shortchange them. Shortchange them for one day, they shortchange you for two weeks. If they don’t get the right amount of nutrients, you’ll see it in the eggs; they’ll not produce as much as they should. You can’t manage with them, what they eat is what they produce”.

Growth in the country’s livestock, a sub-sector of the agricultural industry in Q2 2022 declined by 2.8percebt year-on-year and a quarter –on- quarter decline of 11.3 percent.

Read also: Southeast records highest surge in food prices for three straight months

Even though maize prices appear to have been falling globally, poultry farmers confirmed to BusinessDay that they are still seeing a surge in the prices of feed.

According to a report by FAO, feed is the most important input for intensive poultry production, and the availability of low-priced, high-quality feeds is critical for the expansion of the poultry industry.

For maximum performance and good health, poultry needs a steady supply of energy, protein, essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and, most important, water, the report says.

Folake Aina, managing director of VD&S Farms, and treasurer of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Epe Zone, in an interview with BusinessDay explained that maize, wheat offal, and soya beans (the major raw materials used in the production of poultry feeds) are not available at cheap prices as they were a few years back.

“Maize is about 50 or 55 percent material used in producing the feed and the price has gone up by about 120 percent. Soya and wheat offal also,” she said.

Analysts say though global prices are falling, the fall is not significant enough to cause any effect. “We used to buy soybeans around N175 per kg, but it has increased to around N385. So if it comes down now to N365, what is that?

“The prices do not also stay reduced. They keep fluctuating. You hear it has gone down, by the time you go to buy, they tell you it has gone up again”.

Local production of maize and soya that is majorly done in the North has come under attack on the back of insecurity and terrorism. In some states, herdsmen and terrorists have taken over farms, so farmers cannot even harvest what has been planted.

Farmers have also pointed to fixed machinery costs like the cost of cages also becoming more expensive.

Price of eggs has been identified to be one of the current drivers of Nigeria’s food inflation.