Poultry Farmers Call for Ban on Maize Export

James Sowole in Abeokuta

Disturbed by high cost of maize, a major ingredients in the poultry feeds, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has called on the federal government to rescue the poultry industry by banning export of maize, in order to make the commodity available for poultry feed millers in Nigeria.

The association made the call in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the 2021 Poultry Show with the theme: “De-Risking the Nigerian Poultry Industry: Stabilising Critical Inputs and Market Prices for Sustainability.”

The show, which attracted stakeholders in the public and private agricultural sector in the country, featured exhibition of products and inputs, by players in the industry.

Speaking at the event attended by commissioners for Agriculture from the six South West states, the Chairman of the 2021 Poultry Show, Mr Olalekan Odunsi, stated that poultry farmers are facing lots of socio-economic challenges which is negatively affecting the industry.

Odunsi, who lamented that insecurity, high cost of animal feeds and exchange rate had forced some poultry farmers out of business, added that the challenges had cut number of poultry farmers producing eggs, chickens and other products as many of them had closed shop.

He said “A lot of farms have closed down due to high cost of feeds occasioned by huge cost of maize and soya. While appealing to the federal government to ban exportation of soybeans and maize to allow farmers to produce for local use.

On the immediate effect of the current situation, Odunsi said people should prepare for high cost of poultry products as Christmas is approaching.

The chairman also stated that apart from the issue of maize and soya, prices of other ingredients being used in the production of poultry feeds, are on the high side.

“What is also impeding more on poultry production is foreign exchange. A lot of things we used are imported only maize and soybeans are grown in the country, all the additives, multivitamin, medicament that we are using, we import all of them.

“Even the fish feeds, we are not producing locally, we import. So, all these are impeding very much on the cost of production.

“So, let’s brace up, but we will try our best to make sure people have good meat to eat.”

In a remark at the event, the Ogun State Government said it would continue to give piultry priority in its agricultural agenda for food security, job creation and industrialization through strategic partnership with private sector and international bodies.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Adeola Odedina, stated this in his goodwill message delivered on behalf of the government.

Odedina noted that Ogun State, being the largest producer of broiler and egg in Nigeria, has successfully organised broiler project, in which 45 youths were trained and made to rear 1,000 broilers each, as they made average profit of N150,000 in three cycles.

He added that, the broiler project would be replicated in all the Local Governments in the State, while the successful youths that have been made broiler ambassadors would train others.

Odedina harped on the need to assist farmers by creating enabling environment for them to be able to produce food and raw materials towards importat substitution, quality control and local value-chain operations, to combat looming food crisis in the country.

Speaking on the theme, the Country Representative, Nigerian International Livestock Research Institute, Dr. Tunde Amole, acknowledged that there is scarcity of feed for poultry across the world due to Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and usage of maize as raw material for various commodities, including fuel.

He called on Nigerians to adjust to the new normal, invent sustainable ways to address global crisis, look inwards to areas of comparative advantage and solve the problem of food crisis both for human and livestock consumption.

Amole suggested the use of cassava peels as part of components of producing poultry feeds to reduce total dependence on maize, advocating for the need to bridge the gap between academia’s research and industrial operations.

Mr Olabode Adetoyi, Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, asked all the Southwest States to create enabling environment for farmers to operate.

He said Ekiti State Government has granted tax holidays and provided security to all agribusiness-based investors that are operating in the state. END

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