FG assures massive intervention in poultry industry

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The Federal Government, Thursday, assured Nigerians and farmers of massive intervention in poultry industry amidst challenges.

The assurance was made by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, while delivering his speech at the ‘2nd Edition of Poultry Summit’ with the theme ‘Poultry Production: A Foundation for Food Security and National Development’.

He also called on industry players and Nigerians to work together to ensure the nation thrives on the wings of self-sufficiency and prosperity with poultry production playing a significant role.

He said: “Agriculture, particularly poultry production, stands as a cornerstone in this journey.

“It is not merely about raising livestock; it is about nurturing a resilient nutrition foundation for our nation’s sustenance and growth.

“In the tapestry of national development, poultry production forms a vital thread, weaving its way into the fabric of food security and progress.

“The country’s poultry industry as a vital part of animal agriculture is adjudged the most commercialized component of the livestock subsector contributing over 25% of the Agricultural GDP.

“It boasts of employing about 25 million people in both direct and indirect jobs. The poultry industry prides itself as a veritable supplier of animal protein with a good potential of meeting the protein requirement of Nigerians from animal source. An egg is touted as a complete meal and can be utilized to tackle the menace of malnutrition particularly in children.

“In actuality, poultry production in Nigeria is a vehicle for wealth creation and improved means of livelihood. It also serves as a potential source of foreign exchange earnings.

“In Africa, Nigeria occupies a pride of place with regards to poultry production, the country remains the largest egg producer but has the second largest chicken population in the continent.

“The annual egg production is estimated at 10.3 billion eggs while annual consumption is put at about 14 billion eggs, based on the premise of annual individual consumption of about 70 eggs.

“The per capita poultry consumption is 1.75 kg which falls below the 6.2 kg Africa average. Annual consumption of poultry meat in Nigeria is put at 1,500,000 MT and production output is just about 55 per cent of consumption, estimated at 826,902.42 MT leaving a huge deficit of 45 per cent, which is about 675,000 MT.

“This deficit, unfortunately, is met through the smuggling of poultry and poultry products which most of the times are unwholesome, with its attendant negative effects on the citizen, industry and the economy.

“The potentials of the Nigerian poultry industry to meet the animal protein need of the populace and play a vital role in international trade arena are enormous. If correctly harnessed, they will culminate in immense prosperity for the citizens as well as the nation.

“To this effect, government has been intervening in order to address some of these challenges, boost productivity and enhance sustainability in the poultry industry in Nigeria. At different occasions, since 2020, the government, through Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, (FMAFS) and Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), released some metric tons of grains to poultry farmers and livestock feed millers.

“Also, waiver was granted to four companies to import over 262,000 metric tons of maize into the country within a specified period to cushion the effect of high cost of maize resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Worthy of note is the Federal Government’s concern about the huge losses suffered by poultry farmers in 2022 due to the flood disaster that affected many states. Most farms were either submerged or birds washed away and people were displaced.

“Hence, the government intervened in some States across the country where some poultry farmers affected by the flood disaster were supported with palliative items, (bags of poultry feed and plastic chicken transportation crates), to mitigate the effect of these losses. Only recently, the Ministry had a meeting with the Executive Officers of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in response to their request for immediate attention in the poultry industry to save it from imminent collapse.

“We are still putting in place measures to meet up with their requests including the possibility of import duty waiver, VAT exemption on the importation of feed grade maize and soya-bean as well as on the issue of the recent lifting of the forex restriction on importation of poultry and poultry products.

“On this note, let me call on our research institutes to rise up to the occasion by focusing efforts on coming up with maize varieties for livestock feed only. This will definitely reduce the demand pressure on the ordinary maize used for food and other purposes by human.

“In embracing the challenges that lie ahead, let us draw inspiration from the indomitable spirit of our farmers, the backbone of our agricultural landscape. Their toil and dedication epitomize the essence of our collective journey towards a more secure and prosperous future.

“As a Ministry, our doors remain very open and is willing to support and or collaborate with you on any programme, project or intervention that will add value to the country’s agricultural growth and development and bring about self-sufficiency in food and nutrition security.”

In a goodwill message, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, warned against opening Nigeria’s boarder for poultry products importation, rather Government should support local production.

Obasanjo who is the grand patron of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, speaking virtually at the Summit pointed out that the removal of forex Ban on the importation of Poultry products and 42 other items including poultry products is not healthy for the nation’s poultry industry.

He also recalled how a dutch poultry farmer wanted to export eggs to Nigeria while he was the President of Nigeria, and he quickly stopped that move to protect the local poultry industry.

“Then he told me he was looking for opportunities to export egg into Nigeria, but I told him I will not allow him do that”, he said.

He further stated that, “When you talk of poverty eradication, wealth creation or employment generation, poultry is one of the best that you can go into either at Small, Medium or large resources level, moreso the market is at the door step.

“When the poultry industry is thriving it will trickle down the value chain including maize, soyabean farmers, pharmaceutical companies producing drugs for the birds will also benefit.”

Earlier, the National President, PAN, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, in an address of welcome, expressed hope that the take-off of the Nigeria Agricultural Development Fund, NADF, the poultry industry will bounce back.

Ezeobiora called on the Federal Government to ban export of soybeans in order to safeguard the poultry industry from total collapse.

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