Poultry farms shutting down over high maize price – PAN

Poultry farms across the country are currently shutting down operations due to the persistent hike in the price of maize – a major feed for birds in the subsector, the Poultry Association of Nigeria said on Monday.

Based on this, PAN stated that the poultry subsector in Nigeria was heading for a crash if the government failed to salvage the industry.

In a statement on Monday, the association said, “At the moment, the poultry industry in Nigeria is on the verge of total collapse if urgent intervention is not channelled to it without further delay.

“We are aware that the government has declared a state of emergency on the food security situation of the country, but the situation of the poultry industry calls for an urgent intervention to save the industry from total collapse.”

The statement, which was jointly signed by PAN’s National President, Sunday Ezeobiora, and Director-General, Onallo Akpa, stated that there had been an upward surge in the cost of maize, forcing farmers to shut down their operations.

It said, “The high surge in the price of maize and the near absence or scarcity of the product is causing farmers to close down their poultry farms at the moment because it is no longer sustainable to feed the birds and be in business.

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“This is threatening the further development of the Nigerian poultry industry.”

Findings also revealed that the price of eggs, a daily protein source for many Nigerians, had soared by over 118.34 per cent after maize importation fell by 97.91 per cent.

According to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics, the price of one agric egg medium size rose to N89.17 as of May 2023 from N40.84 as of May 2020. This was as the importation of maize, a major component of poultry feeds, fell to $1.82m as of the end of 2022 from $87.08m as of the end of 2020 according to data from the International Trade Center.

According to farmers who spoke with The PUNCH, maize is a major component (60 per cent to 70 per cent) of poultry feed, and the increase in the cause of maize because of an import ban had translated to a rise in the price of eggs for the average Nigerian.

In 2020, the Federal Government banned the importation of maize into the country as the CBN added maize to the list of items restricted from accessing foreign exchange.

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While Nigeria had banned the importation of maize, its local production has also suffered due to sustained banditry in the north.

A circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, CBN, OS Nnaji, in 2020 stated, “As part of efforts by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVlD-19 pandemic, authorised dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of Forms M for the importation of maize/corn with immediate effect.”

The FG later gave concessions to four companies (Premier Feeds, Mills Wacot, Chi Farms, and Crown Flour) to import 262,000 tonnes of maize because of the importance of maize to the poultry industry. Nigeria has 400,000 metric tonnes of maize production shortfall.

According to a farmer, Dr Azeez Gbadamosi, the continued increase in the price of eggs was directly related to the increase in feeds. He told The PUNCH, “The increase in the price of eggs is due to the cost of feeds. Almost every week, the cost of feeds rises.

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“Also, there is the cost of medication, transportation, and others too. The cost of feeds is majorly increasing because of the cost of maize; you know maize makes up more than 50 per cent of the feed. The cost of maize is on the rise because local production has really been hindered.”

Another farmer, who is also a veterinary doctor, Akintade Akintayo, said that the price of feeds was the major reason why egg prices were rising. He lamented that in the last two weeks, the price of New Hope feeds, a poultry feed, had increased thrice.

The farmer,  who operates Atade Farms,  said, “Maize is like 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the whole feeds. The increase in the price of maize is one of the major factors. Maize is expensive because a few years ago, the importation of maize was limited. And the bulk of the maize we use for many of our general activities, including human consumption, is imported.”

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