By Monsur Olowoopejo
If the threat of Poultry Association of Nigeria PAN to increase the prices of their products is anything to go by then the masses should get ready to face corresponding increases in other products
PAN on Monday alerted on an impending crisis in the industry following the rising cost of feed and raw materials in the country, which they could adversely affect the nation’s food security in the 2011 season and beyond.
Lagos, South West PAN Chairman, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan while speaking with newsmen on the development, explained that the prices of major raw materials used to make poultry feed had gone up by 100 per cent in the last six months, stating that the anomaly might kill the industry if not quickly addressed.
He stated that the poultry farmers had endured the increase without necessarily increasing their prices of eggs and chicken, but might be forced to jack up the prices of its produce if the situation persisted.
Oduntan who listed the major raw materials to include maize, soya bean seed, soya bean meal, said the prices has since increased from N44, 000 per tonne at the beginning of the season to N110, 000 in May.
He said, “In the last four months, the poultry industry has faced a lot of uncertainty and today it is on the verge of collapse. When we consider that feed makes up to 70 per cent of the total cost of production, it then becomes clear that we may need to increase the prices of eggs and chicken.”
Oduntan said that if the trend continued unabated most, if not all poultry farms would have to reduce operations or close down with over two million Nigerians in the business of poultry rearing stand to lose their job.
“As business owners, we may not have other option than to increase the prices of eggs and chicken to remain in business,” he said.
“The poultry industry consumes about two million metric tonnes of maize per annum with the largest quantity coming from the northern part of the country but the recent low production and cost of transportation from the north has affected poultry business,” Oduntan added.
The association, however called on the Federal Government to design and implement a price guarantee mechanism for farmers to encourage high production of the cereals and ban frozen chicken as the Nigerian poultry industry “is potentially major employer of labour in a conducive economic environment.
The association urged government to temporarily remove all duty and VAT on imported corn, feed wheat and soya bean meal to encourage import for short term alleviation of the crisis in the poultry industry and fund the research institutes to do more works in the area of hybrid seed among other areas.