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Poultry industry may shut down by January

  • As prices of maize, soybeans jump 100% in nine months • 5m jobs under threat 

The Poultry industry is set to shut down production by January next year, unless urgent steps are taken to save the situation. This is in connection with the astronomical rise in prices of maize and soybeans— the main components of feed used for poultry production.

A ton of maize, which, hitherto, sold for N85,000 one year ago, currently costs between N145,000 and N160, 000; while the price of soybeans has risen from N130,000 to between N215,000 and250,000.

Following the sharp increase, the cost of feed has increased, from N3000 in March to between N4600 and N5300. The cost of poultry industry feed, which contributes 75 per cent to production costs, has risen by over 75 per cent within nine months.

Industry experts blamed the development on increase in exportation of maize and soybeans, mop-up of maize grains for COVID-19 palliatives, the protracted lockdown, #EndSARS protests and lack of incentives to the industry.

President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ezekiel Ibrahim, during a press conference tagged ‘Crisis and the Survival of the Nigeria Poultry Industry: A Critical Moment,’ said the industry faced dire situation unless government acts fast. He said the industry could be forced to shut in January 2021 if nothing urgent is done.

According to him, the major reasons given for the scarcity and high cost of soybeans and maize in the country are insecurity, climate change and hoarding.

He added that findings showed that soybeans were being exported in seeds and meals, which has contributed to the present crisis.

He maintained that small and medium-sized poultry farms, which are major players in the industry, are shutting down, thereby threatening over five million jobs created by the industry.

To salvage the situation, the association called on government to immediately halt soya bean and soya meal exports, as well guarantee local food security. According to him, there is need to allow immediate importation of soya beans and maize into the country as stop-gap in mitigating supply shocks.

General Manager, Premier Feed Mills, Austin Dalyop, also said the quality of Nigerian soybeans, being a non-GMO variant, has placed the grain on high demand in the international market. He said the scarcity of feedmill component had made it impossible for smallholder poultry farmers to survive.

He also attributed the current downturn to the bird flu disease that affected many big farms at the beginning of the year. He added that, during the lockdown, it was difficult to transport chicks and feeds within the state.

Post COVID-19 lockdown, price of maize hit the rooftops, as it was sold for about N200, 000 per tonne; the reason being that state governments were buying up the grain for palliatives as food to the people, forcing the grain to dry up.

He said: “Smallholder farmers are fallen apart due to the high cost of feed mill, as they now have to pass the high cost to the end-product, which many Nigerians cannot afford. After Christmas, most of the farmers may not be able to keep up, as they may have to sell off their chicks.”

He called on government to take proactive steps to reverse the current trend.

Copyright The Guardian

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