The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, has assured poultry farmers of the ministry’s proactive stance in addressing the challenges they face.
He made this commitment during a recent courtesy visit to his office by the leadership of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Abuja.
The minister underscored that the current state of food security was under threat due to issues related to both availability and affordability.
He emphasized that the prevailing challenges of malnutrition and the rates of food inflation necessitated a year-round endeavor to enhance food production. Simultaneously, measures must be implemented to ensure food availability, accessibility and affordability for the entire population.
Kyari expressed his deep concern, particularly with poultry businesses facing closures.
He highlighted that this was one of the driving factors behind President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of a food security emergency.
He, therefore, assured the association that its concerns would be addressed. He noted that actions were already being taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria, including lifting import restrictions, to alleviate the current situation.
In his earlier remarks, the national president of the association, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora voiced heightened tensions, apprehensions and fears within the poultry industry. These concerns were linked to what appeared to be a relaxation of restrictions on the importation of poultry and poultry products such as eggs and dairy items.
He called for a stronger political will from the government to initiate a sustainable poultry development policy with a well-defined Action Plan.
He emphasized that, as per the recent pronouncements from the Central Bank of Nigeria, this shift could lead Nigeria back to the “pre-2000 era when the country was a dumping ground for various imported poultry products”.
Ezeobiora further outlined the implications of these developments and requested specific quick-win incentives to permit the importation of 3 million metric tons of maize and 500,000 tonnes of soybeans. This action would address the supply and demand situation for the upcoming 2023/2024 poultry farming seasons, among other objectives.
In her submission, the director of animal husbandry services, Mrs. Winnie Solarin highlighted the significance of the poultry industry.
She noted that it was one of the most commercialized sectors in the livestock industry and cited World Bank statistics showing that it had a 95 per cent potential for reducing poverty and contributed significantly to the national gross domestic product.