Delta poultry farmers urge FG to subsidise feeds
The Delta chapter of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) yesterday urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of local farmers by checking the rising cost of feeds.
The state chairman of the association, Chief Alfred Mrakpor, who made the appeal in Asaba, regretted that a good number of small-scale poultry farms had gone into extinction on account of exorbitant prices of critical ingredients in feed formulation.
He expressed worry over the disillusionment of his members, who had had to grapple with crippling poverty arising from business closures engendered by the pervasive inflation in the country.
The PAN chair said: “It is heart-breaking to see that small farmers are falling out of business, and by extension, increasing the poverty level. Our members are negatively affected by the galloping price of maize.
“Over the last two years, the local broiler industry has boomed with a positive effect on food sufficiency for Nigeria. This has been largely aided by the ban on imports of frozen chicken. We see this great achievement being rolled back if local broiler production is threatened.”
Mrakpor pointed out that the benefits of the ban on frozen chicken on the local industry would be eroded except the high prices of maize and soybeans –major components of poultry rations – were checked.
Imploring the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to allow importation of maize to augment the shortfall in domestic requirement, the chairman noted: “A tonne of maize which used to sell for N97,000 has climbed to N165,000, while soybean has increased from N110,000 per tonne to N123,000 within the last few months.”
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow immediate importation of maize into Nigeria since our local maize farmers can not meet up with the demand required consumers,” he pleaded.
Mrakpor claimed that invoices and local purchase orders (LPOs) were no longer respected by maize dealers, stressing that the development poses a “huge challenge to small-scale poultry farmers.”
He said the rising cost of maize and the attendant scarcity were capable of threatening the nation’s food security, adding that apart from poultry farmers, other actors in the value chain were also at risk.
“The rising cost of maize is threatening livelihoods of small businesses in Nigeria. It is not only poultry farmers’ investments that are threatened, but also other players in value chain such as seed producers, chicken and egg vendors and processors, grain traders, veterinary and drugs vendors, etc, thus plunging the economy into deeper crisis,” he added.