Feed millers, under the aegis of Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria (FIPAN), have raised an alarm that if the Federal Government failed to immediately address the challenges facing the poultry industry, the country may soon rely on poultry products from other countries. Speaking to news correspondents, the president of the association, Raymond Isidinaso, said that the high cost of eggs, chicken, fish and other poultry products is as a result of scarcity of maize and soya beans, which are essential ingredients in the production of poultry feed.
He declared that scarcity of egg, chicken and other livestock are imminent due to unavailability and increase in the cost of maize and soya beans, which are important for livestock feed production. In the last few months, the cost of feed has been skyrocketing due to the scarcity of these products. It is important to address issues in this sector because many other sectors rely on it. For instance, the catering and confectionery industry relies on products from poultry in order to fulfill clients’ orders. When these become locally unavailable, the alternative will be to import them.
FG urged to urgently address the problems in the sector.
Because of the dire situation in which practitioners in this industry have found themselves, FIPAN has called on the Federal Government to urgently intervene and release grains from the nation’s reserve to alleviate their plights. The association also expressed the fear of increased unemployment if the industry fails. It noted that it contributes about forty-five percent of the nation’s labour force. Nigeria unemployment rate was pegged at 33.3 percent by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as of 2020. If the industry folds up, the rate may well rise above 60 percent.
While recommending ways to mitigate the impending food crisis, Isindinaso said FIPAN is demanding the immediate stoppage of exportation of soya bean seed and intervention on the importation of maize for livestock feeds. He urged the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Abubakar Kyari, to buckle up for the challenges ahead and tackle food insecurity to guarantee food sufficiency across the country. Food insecurity in the country has been aggravated since the incidents of farmer-herder clash as well as kidnapping of farmers by bandits have increased.
Country needs 18.5 tons of grains to meet industry requirements.
According to the president, the cost of eggs and meat is going higher due to the current cost of grains. These constitute about 80 percent of the animal feed and soya makes up about 25 percent of the feed. He said that the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the agricultural industry is going down because of shortage of raw materials. The country needs about 18.5 metric tons of grains to meet industry requirement. But there is a shortage of it as the country produced only 1.7 metric tons of soya.
In his words, a short window should be opened to stakeholders to import grains to augment the daily shortage as well as to create long-lasting mechanisms of two to four years to address the challenges that the industry is facing. The association also called on the newly appointed minister of agriculture to address this issue urgently by ensuring exportation of soya and maize are reduced. The president of the association said that he is confident that those needed will listen and heed to our calls for help to revive the industry.
Addressing these problems will save SMEs from bankruptcy.
Specifically, Isindinaso said, “There should be an urgent release of between 100,000 to 200,000 metric tons of maize and sorghum from the strategic grains reserves.” Livestock farmers constitute a significant percent of the nation’s small and medium-scale enterprises. They contribute to the economy in not only ensuring food sufficiency but also employment. These businesses are a part of the pillars holding the Nigerian economy together at this moment. These businesses will be saved from shutting down and laying off workers if the problems highlighted are addressed.