By James Emejo
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday approved the release of 5,000 metric tonnes (mt) of maize from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at a subsidised rate of N90,000 per metric ton as against the current market price of N170,000.
His approval was conveyed to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, in a letter from State House with reference No: SH/COS/05/A/26/1, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.
The intervention is aimed towards providing succour to the poultry industry, which accounts for about 27 per cent of the agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy and provides about 20 million direct and indirect employments.
The industry will also heave a sigh of relief as this will, to a great extent, help resolve the challenge of poultry feeds ravaging the industry.
In a statement by the Director of Information, FMARD, Theodore Ogaziechi, Nanono however assured the farmers of the readiness of the ministry to immediately comply with the presidential directive in order to salvage the huge investment of about N10 trillion in the industry.
However, the Director General, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mr. Onallo Akpa, confirmed to THISDAY in an interview Friday that he had the letter of allocation and was working out modalities for the distribution of the grains to members across the country.
He said: “The president because of the scarcity of maize, has graciously approved the release of 5.000MT to PAN for distribution to its members across the nation.
“What you called subsidised rate is that they gave it to us at a price excluding logistics, bagging and other things at the rate of N90,000 in the silos.
“I just received the letter of allocation this evening and I am having the files in front of me and I am working on the logistics of distributing the maize to the states.
“By the time we put all our costs together, it will translate to between N120,000 and N125,000 per ton for members as against N150,000/N160,000 currently being sold.”