By Festus Ahon – Asaba
Poultry farmers under the auspices of Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to come to their rescue, lamenting that their farms were crumbling over the rising cost of maize and soya beans.
They lamented that small poultry farms were closing down as a result of the high cost of feeds.
Speaking to newsmen in Asaba, the Delta State Chairman of PAN, Chief Alfred Mrakpor appealed to the Federal government to save the local poultry industry from total collapse due to the high cost of poultry feeds.
Mrakpor lamented the large numbers of small scale poultry farms that have closed as a result of exorbitant prices of critical ingredients in poultry feed formulation.
He held that the benefits of the ban by the federal government on frozen chicken on the local industry would be eroded, if the exorbitant price of maize and soya beans, a major component of poultry rations, were not checked.
Mrakpor said, “It is heartbreaking to see that small farmers are falling out of business and by extension increasing the poverty level of the citizenry. This is not the expectations of our members, and we are all negatively affected by the galloping price of maize by maize merchants without any remorse.
“In the last two years, the local broiler industry has boomed with a positive effect on food sufficiency for Nigeria. This has been largely aided by the ban on imports of frozen chicken. We see this great achievement being rolled back if local broiler production is threatened.
“A tonne of maize which used to sell for N97,000 has climbed to N165,000 per tonne while soybeans have increased from N110,000 per tonne to N123,000 within the last few months.
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow immediate importation of maize into Nigeria since our local maize farmers can not meet up with the demand of maize required by maize consumers.”
According to him, invoices and Local Purchase Orders, LPO is no longer respected by maize dealers, stressing that “this poses a huge challenge to small scale poultry farmers”.
Insisting that the rising cost of maize and the attendant scarcity of maize and soybeans was capable of threatening the nation’s food security, Mrakpor decried that apart from poultry farmers other actors in the value chain were also at risk.
“The rising cost of maize is threatening livelihoods of small businesses in Nigeria. It is not only poultry farmer’s investment that is threatened, but also other players in the value chain; feed producers, chicken, and egg vendors and processors, grain traders, veterinary and drug vendors, etc, thus plunging the economy into deeper crisis”, he said.