James Emejo in Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday said the apex bank has initiated a programme to boost poultry production in the country through the involvement of 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 the lack of access to low cost, long tenured finance, which is not however peculiar to the industry, but must be resolved.
Furthermore, he said the Nigerian poultry faced 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 added that the CBN was ready to put an end to it.
Emefiele said 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.
He 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 him, “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 manner.”
Represented by CBN Deputy Governor, Monetary Policy, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, Emefiele said the poultry sub-sector was the most commercialised of all Nigeria’s agriculture sub-sectors.
According to him, the sub- sector contributes about 25 per cent of agricultural GDP to the economy with a current net worth of about N1.6 trillion.
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.
The CBN governor said: “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 therefore 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.”