By James Emejo in Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Monday said the apex bank has initiated a programme to boost poultry production in the country through the involvement universities which will be part of the pilot team to run a university-based Poultry Revival Programme.
He said the objective of its intervention in the sub-sector was to produce chicken meat and egg to reduce importation and close the existing demand and supply gap; raise a new crop of agropreneurs in modern poultry production; provide infrastructure that would support the sustainable production of poultry; as well as reduce pressure on foreign exchange demand through import substitution by local poultry production.
Speaking at an interactive session with vice-chancellors of universities on the proposed project to boost poultry production, Emefiele said the CBN would be committing human, material and financial resources to monitoring both the disbursement and utilisation of funds in a robust and verifiable manner.
He said the sector is currently bedevilled by lack of access to low cost, long tenured finance, which though is not peculiar to the industry but must be resolved.
Furthermore, he said the Nigerian poultry faces high production costs, safety concerns due to lack of sanitary controls and technical constraints in processing and marketing, stressing that production costs are generally high due to lack of an integrated and automated industrial poultry sector.
He said poultry producers lacked reliable access to inputs including chicks and feed as well as high costs of veterinary services.
The CBN governor also expressed worry that an estimated 1.2 million metric tonnes of poultry meat was being smuggled into the country from the neighbouring Benin Republic by some unscrupulous Nigerians, describing the situation as unfortunate.
He said that the CBN was ready to put an end to it, adding that the intervention was directly in conformity with the apex bank’s resolve to diversify the economy, be a catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth.
The CBN governor said while these are its ultimate goals, “our main intermediate objective is to ensure that poultry production is increased as well as end the smuggling of poultry products into Nigeria”.
According to Emefiele, “In order to ensure the attainment of our goals, therefore the CBN would be committing considerable human, material and financial resources to monitoring both the disbursement and utilisation of these funds in a robust and verifiable manner.
“Participating institutions will be required to submit periodic returns on disbursements as well as an analysis of the impacts of the Fund they received.
“The CBN will also undertake regular on and off-site checks to ascertain the veracity of the reports received. Therefore, I respectfully enjoin you and your institutions to help us in achieving these goals by ensuring that these funds are deployed in an effective and efficient manner.”
Represented by CBN Deputy Governor, Monetary Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, he said the poultry sub-sector was the most commercialised of all Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors.
He said the sub-sector contributes about 25 per cent of agricultural GDP to the economy with a current net worth of about N1.6 trillion.
“The chicken population is about 165 million which produce approximately 650,000MT and 300,00MT of eggs and meat respectively. The demand situation is estimated at over 200 million birds, while the demand for eggs and meat are about 790,000MT and 1,500,000MT respectively, thus leaving a huge demand gap which unfortunately, is met by smuggling,” he said.
Despite existing constraints, Emefiele said the sector still holds huge potential for the country as the demand for poultry products is expanding as a result of population growth.
According to him, Nigeria’s population is projected at 400 million by 2050, while 280 million are projected to live in the cities, thereby significantly increasing the demand for poultry products.
“Also, per capita consumption of chicken is still very low at 2.5kg in Nigeria, when compared to Brazil and South Africa at 30kg and 40 kg respectively, while per capita consumption of eggs in Nigeria is 60 eggs per annum compared to 250 to 300 eggs per annum in most advanced countries,” the CBN governor said.
He noted that the school feeding programme of the present administration also remained a huge potential which is yet to be fully tapped as poultry represents an important source of high quality animal protein.
“We have asked for information on the capacity of your poultry pens, hatcheries, feed mills, size of crop farm and number of tractors for grains production, commercially viable and bankable business plan; including processing facility as well as any other information that would enrich your participation in the programme.
“We rely on the university-based poultry production model because you have the existing infrastructure, experience and human assets to enable production at reduced cost and in a competitive manner.
“Let me emphasise that we have structured this programme to ensure that they can be accessed by those who need them the most and are ready to operate their facilities in a commercially viable manner,” he said.