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No respite as more poultry farmers close shop

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Poultry farmers are currently facing extinction as a result of challenges.

Though actual number of farms and hatchery that have folded up is still vague, investigations showed that many farmers left the business hurriedly after incurring serious losses, while those still operating are either struggling to remain in business at zero profit or incurring huge debts to stay afloat.

Some of the challenges include; high cost of feed, sourcing of raw materials, high foreign exchange rate, unending smuggling of poultry products, and cost of production. But the issue of high cost of feed appears to be most pressing.

The Guardian learnt that those still in business are adopting different means of survival.

A poultry farmer, Prince Olanipekun Fagbemi Valentine Abiodun, who confirmed the development to The Guardian, said though he incurred losses due to the challenges, it was manageable because he had envisaged the problem was likely to happen and was able to formulate survival strategies.

He listed the challenges to include-scarcity of feed raw materials; low level technical know-how; and egg glut.

“At a point in time, quality feed raw materials became so scarce and the little found in the market were so expensive, which in turn led to high cost of feed.

This factor forced many farmers out of the business because the return on investment was nothing to write home about. But we thank God that we are overcoming this problem gradually as the price of feed is becoming affordable to poultry producers as we speak.

“Lack of technical know-how by some poultry farmers equally contributed to reasons why farmers abandoned poultry. They tend to do things in the old way and shun innovations. I have encountered so many farmers on the field who do not have Animal Scientist to guard them in their operations.

On the egg glut, he said the problem arises when there are eggs in excess in the market, which will force down the price. Egg is highly perishable, just like other proteinous sources of food such as milk and meat. The shelf life is short and therefore must be disposed freshly before it starts to deteriorate,” he said.

Another farmer, John Olofintuyi, who operates from Igoba, Akure, Ondo State, said hike in price of poultry feed and medications, coupled with the economic recession causes of farms folding up on daily basis.

“Majorly, egg and meat production are the main aspects of poultry business. These challenges led to increase in price of egg and unfortunately, due to economic recession, Nigerians couldn’t afford to buy eggs anymore. And because egg is highly perishable, farmers are forced to sell below cost of production and gradually went bankrupt.

“On the other hand, the meat production aspect is surviving the challenges due to the ban on importation of frozen poultry products.

In its submission, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) claimed sourcing of feed materials, is the most pressing of the challenges confronting the sector.

The body claimed that despite the opportunity to plant maize twice a year, the opportunity was not utilised.

The immediate National President of the association, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, once suggested the need to encourage soya bean and maize farmers to increase their level of production, to meet local demand. “We have opportunity of planting maize twice a year in this country, so I want to encourage maize and soya producers to increase production from the present two tonnes to about 10 tonnes.”

The invasion of farms diseases and pests, especially armyworm caterpillar, stem borers, and corn earworms threatens the $6b annual maize turnover after 22 states were affected.

The former Group Head, Strategy and Policy, Amo Byng Nigeria Limited, Francis Toromade, told The Guardian, recently that generally, there is scarcity of maize because Nigerians have never relied solely on locally produced maize, but always substituting with importation, noting that due to the devaluation of naira and scarcity of dollar, it has been difficult to cope. 

He noted that since 2011 there has been importation of a minimum of 100,000 metric tons of maize, noting that since 2015, 300,000 tons was imported and there was a projection for 300,000 again in 2016, of which only 90,000 tons entered the country in 2017.

“So, there is a shortfall of 410,000 tons. The truth is that local production has not satisfied the needs of the consumers locally, prompting us to look for the way out, to find alternative to maize.” 

As a way of addressing the perennial challenges, Olanipekun suggested that farmers must ensure they buy quality feed materials if they are toll milling by themselves.

“They must insist on quality raw materials. Don’t buy water instead of maize. Don’t buy cotton seed cake instead of GNC. They must ensure adulterated raw materials are not supplied to them.
The cheapest feed may not likely be the best for your investment. Do feeding trial experiment with few birds to determine what branded feed to go for.”

To Olofintuyi, government needs to subsidise farm inputs to encourage farmers to grow more of feed ingredients to bring down prices of feed materials and to also intensify efforts on the ban on importation of frozen poultry products.


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