Omonosa Netete, Asaba
The leadership of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Delta State Chapter has urged the Federal government to save the local poultry industry from total collapse due to rising cost of maize and soybeans inputs in poultry feeds.
The State PAN Chairman, Chief Alfred Mrakpor who made this known, yesterday, in Asaba-the State Capital lamented the large numbers of small scale poultry farms that have closed as a result of exorbitant prices of critical ingredients in poultry feed formulation.
He said, “It is heart breaking to see that small farmers are falling out of business and by extension increasing the poverty level of the citizenry. This is not the expectations of our members, and we are all negatively affected by the galloping price of maize by maize merchants without any remorse”.
He warned that the benefits of the ban by the federal government on frozen chicken on the local industry will be eroded except the exorbitant price of maize and soybeans- a major component of poultry rations-is checked.
Mrakpor said, “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.”
According to him, “A tonne of maize which used to sell for N97,000 has climbed to N165,000 per tonne while soybeans has increased from N110,000 per tonne to N123,000 within the last few months.”
Mrakpor urged the Federal government to allow the importation of maize, stressing that local maize production is unable to keep up with local demand.
He said, “We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow immediate importation of maize into Nigeria since our local maize farmers cannot meet up with the demand of maize required by maize consumers.”
He added that invoices and local purchase orders (LPO) are no longer respected by maize dealers, stressing that this poses a huge challenge to small scale poultry farmers.
Mrakpor said the rising cost of maize and the attendant scarcity is capable of threatening the nation’s food security,adding that apart from poultry farmer’s other actors in the value chain is also at risk.
According to him, “The rising cost of maize is threatening livelihoods of small businesses in Nigeria. It is not only poultry farmer’s investment that is threatened, but also other players in value chain…..feed producers, chicken and egg vendors and processors, grain traders, veterinary and drugs vendors, etc, thus plunging the economy into deeper crisis”.