The 2023 edition of the Nigeria Poultry Show, an annual exhibition show of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), ended on Thursday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, with the stakeholders hammering on the urgent need to salvage the N12 trillion industry from total collapse.
“The challenges of the Nigeria Poultry Industry in the last decade have defied all necessary solutions,” Dr Olalekan Odunsi, the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, puts it succinctly in his welcome address at the 2023 edition of the NPS.
Odunsi noted that the hydra-headed challenges, which hit the tipping point during the 2020 pandemic, are fast pushing the industry to the brink of total collapse. He cited raw materials challenges of 2021/2022, especially maize and soya, which he said its price increased by almost 300 percent, poor sales of poultry products (eggs and chicken) with about 100 percent below the cost of production, among other crises in the sector.
“The present situation of the poultry industry needs all players to deliberately and intentionally intervene,” Odunsi submitted.
His position apparently set the tone for discussion and interactions at the event titled “Mitigating the challenges of the poultry industry: Current perspectives, the role of government and the private sector.”
The Nigerian poultry industry’s yearly ritual offered another opportunity for the stakeholders to re-examine those challenges crippling the sector and proffered solutions. Besides, the NPS is organised for stakeholders in the industry to showcase their products, exhibit latest technology among others.
Like previous editions, this year’s edition of the multi-dimensional programme attracted poultry farmers, both local and international and investors thronged the ancient city for the annual programme. At least six international and 67 local exhibitors were in attendance at the event which took place at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, between Tuesday and Thursday.
Some of the experts expressed concern over the lifting of the ban of some 43 items recently by the federal government as it affects their industry.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had lifted the restriction placed on importers of some 43 items on access to forex in the official window during the era of former Governor Godwin Emefiele. One of those items was poultry products – chicken, turkey and eggs.
The National Vice Chairman, South-West Zone, Gideon Oluleye, said the lifting of the ban on the importation of poultry products into the country will collapse the poultry industry in Nigeria.
He acknowledged that the poultry industry is currently grappling with a multitude of challenges, including the rising costs of poultry feed, which greatly impacts the sector.
According to him, the importance of the poultry sector in the economy cannot be over emphasized as it is a sector that is contributing over 6 per cent to the country’s GDP and employing over 25 million people.
“We, on behalf of poultry Association of Nigeria, are therefore appealing to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Central bank and the federal ministry of Agriculture to intervene in this sector by; subsidising inputs cost, majorly maize and soya beans and ensure its availability within the economy and providing financial window of long term lending to farmers.
“Government’s financial and agriculture policies should be designed in a way that it will not affect the poultry sector negatively. Government should increase its budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector and particularly the poultry sub-sector. We are also calling on the federal government to create poultry infrastructures by setting up egg powder and chicken meat processing companies in all the geopolitical zones of the country, so that poultry products like eggs will no longer enter into glut at certain periods of the year. We are also urging the federal government to embark on guided importation in the poultry sector. It is only the items that are not produced enough that should be allowed into the country and the importation of processed chicken that is contaminated, rejected and not fit for human consumption should be disallowed, to prevent Nigeria from being a dumping ground for all kinds of products,” he said.
Speaking during the event, PAN’s National President, Sunday Ezeobiora, expressed concerns over the high production costs within the poultry industry and identified funding, infrastructure, and marketing as some of the prevailing challenges it currently confronts.
He said, “If these are not handled well, they may kill the poultry industry in Nigeria.”
In his address, Ogun State Commissioner for Agriculture, Bolu Owotomo, identified insecurity, foreign exchange and high cost of transportation as some of the challenges confronting farmers in the state.
He, however, said the government has created an enabling environment and supportive programmes to encourage poultry farms across the state.
“Insecurity has risen drastically on our farms and lately even they are being attacked by terrorists, the foreign exchange prices have denied producers to import input, machineries and spare parts at affordable cost.
“This current administration under Dapo Abiodun has come up with an initiative, two special intervention programs to better the lots of our farmers and the general public in the state, to turn agriculture to its glorious days when it was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.
“Over 10, 000 crates of eggs were procured by the state government through farmers during the World Egg Day season in the year 2023. This is one of government’s efforts in reducing the pains of poultry farmers. The state is helping farmers to source good quality day-old chicks from reputable organisations and helping farmers to regulate the quality of ingredients used within the state through regular visit to feed methods,” he said.
In her goodwill message, the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said the government had a role to play in the sector and would do the needful.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) warned poultry owners against use of unapproved products in rearing of birds and animals, saying such could be harmful to the health of the consumers.
The Director of Veterinary Medicine and Allied Health from NAFDAC, Dr Ramatu Momodu, said “What it means is that they should not use products that they are not supposed to use, products that have not been certified by the NAFDAC. So, you are not sure of the efficacy, you are not sure of the quality and even effectiveness. As you have seen today from one of the presentations, if they use the product properly, they are going to get better birds; birds that are healthier, which is good for business because business will grow which is good for the farmers, for the nation and also for us who are buying the birds to eat. We are going to eat better quality birds; we are not going to eat diseased birds or not being bred properly. So, it’s very important that we do this engagement.”
Speaking with our correspondent, Iyiola Mojeed, the Lagos State Chairman of PAN, described the 2023 edition of the poultry show as exceptional.
“In terms of exhibition, it is different, the turnout (participants and exhibitors) is different and the materials given are up to international standards. In fact, this one happens to be the largest of all we have had because the venue is very accommodating.
“Our plans for next year are in progress already so that we can grow faster and achieve better than we did this year,” Mojeed said.
Going forward, Odunsi said “…for any economy to grow, the government of the land must be ready and available to support the investors with real-farmers friendly programs and provision of an enabling environment for business to thrive.”