The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has stated that Nigeria’s food inflation rose to 18.37 per cent in April amid increase in prices of staple food across the country.
The food inflation situation has also contributed to the rising cost of poultry feed which has risen by at least 168 per cent in the last three years in the midst of persistent rise in the prices of feed ingredients such as maize and soya to the increase in the cost of production.
THISDAY gathered that this has resulted to a broiler being sold for between N5,500 and N7,000 currently as against N1,500 and N2,500 in 2018, while a crate of eggs rose from N800 to N1,800.
This, expert noted is a huge surge that underlines the scale of Nigeria’s food inflation in the last few years.
On average, a 25 kilogramme of poultry feed, made mainly from maize, soybean, wheat, and millet, rose from N3,600 in 2019 to between N8,500 and N10,000 in July 2022, according to market surveys by the Centre for Journalism and Innovation Development (CJID).
Food prices in Nigeria accelerated 20.6 per cent in June over the previous year, the fastest pace in 11 months, according to the NBS. Headline inflation shot to 18.60 per cent, a five-year high.
Prices of goods and services have rocketed in Nigeria stoked by several factors. Inflation worsened in 2019 after the government closed the borders to check smuggling and boost rice production and other essential food production. But low domestic production slowed supplies amid huge demand, driving prices. The pandemic lockdowns, shortage of foreign currency, insecurity, high fuel prices, and lately, Russia’s war in Ukraine complicated the problem.
Indeed, the National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim in a chat with THISDAY explained that the 168 per cent price hike surge is occasioned by the several challenges faced by poultry farmers in the country, ranging from the persistent rise in the prices of feed ingredients such as maize and soya, especially, to the increase in the cost of production.
He said that Nigeria’s poultry industry is worth $4.2 billion, citing the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation, and is also a major protein source for over 200 million people.
According to him, the sector, which contributes nine to 10 per cent to the GDP, has struggled in the last three years and many operators have abandoned their businesses due to high costs.
The renowned poultry farmer stated that his members are lamenting the high feed costs.
Ibrahim explained that the current developments in the country’s poultry sector over skyrocketing prices in animal feeds and cost of production following shortage of foreign exchange nationwide is the major reason for continuous price review upward for approval for a new price for the sale of a crate of eggs by poultry farmers in the country.
He said: “It might interest you to know that poultry farmers are facing serious challenges ranging from the consistent rise in the prices of feed ingredients such as maize and soya especially. The decision was borne out of the desire to safeguard the poultry industry from imminent collapse and to keep our members in business.”
Another poultry farmer and Chairman of the 2021 Poultry Show for South West States, Mr. Olalekan Odunsi, stated that poultry farmers are facing lots of socio-economic challenges, which is negatively affecting the industry trajectories.
Odunsi lamented that insecurity, high cost animal feeds and exchange rate have forced some poultry farmers out of the business, saying these challenges have cut numbers of poultry farmers producing eggs, chickens and other products with many of them closing down their shops.
On the immediate effect of the current situation, Odunsi said Nigerians should prepare for high cost of poultry products.
He 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.
He said: “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.”