By Esther Onyegbula
Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria, FIPAN, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save the poultry and animal feed industry from imminent collapse due to the maize supply crisis currently rocking the sector.
Making the call in Lagos recently at a briefing, Dr. Folarin Afelumo, President of FIPAN said the scarcity of grains (maize), if not urgently tackled, spells doom for the industry which is worth over N500 billion.
Explaining further, Afelumo said: “The collapse of the sector will lead to massive loss of jobs and investments.
“Apart from losses of jobs and investments, there would be a shortage of affordable quality and cheaper protein sources, which the poultry meat and eggs traditionally offer to the teeming populace.”
Lamenting, Dr. Oyedele Oyediji, Chairman Feed Supplements Association of Nigeria, FESMAN, said if nothing was done urgently to address the crisis, more feed mills will close down due to non-availability of maize supply at a reasonable price.
His words: “More poultry farmers will sell off their stock in addition to those already selling theirs to reduce the losses.
“The impact of the shutdown of the sector due to the scarcity will take the country a minimum of two to three years to get the industry back to the present capacity, even when maize becomes available.”
On his part, Chief Chinedu Aham-Neze, Managing Director Biotrack Limited, urged the government to urgently release the nation’s strategic grains reserve of maize, if available, to address the shortage.
He said: “The government should also create a dedicated national grain reserve of a minimum of 35,000 metric tons of maize for the feed milling industries to fall on in times of national shortfalls.
“Aham-Neze also urged the government to give a reprieve of three to four months window for CBN to allow the importation of 360,000 metric tons of maize, which represents only 3.49% of the total 10.3 million metric tons of maize produced in the country.”