Stakeholders in the feed and livestock sector said the recent emergency approval granted four companies to import 262,000 tons of maize into the country by the Central Bank of Nigeria saved the sector from near collapse.
The companies are Wacot Limited, Chi farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited and Premier Feeds Company Limited.
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The stakeholders described the approval as a saving grace for the sector.
The Managing Director of Hybrid Feeds, Kaduna, Dr Alayande Leye, said the imported maize gave a lot of respite.
He said: “If not for the maize, some farms would’ve been shut down by now, some farmers would’ve been out of business and the part of the protein requirement in diets would have been unavailable. So, that saved us seriously.”
Haitham Nawam of Breedwell Frozen Chicken Feeds, Ibadan, said: “We bought from Wacot and Premier Feeds, if this had not happened, it would have been a catastrophe. Apart from having a solution to a really big problem, prices of raw materials are still very high. But the situation is still better than before when we were having a lot of trouble finding the product. What we have now should suffice until the next harvest season.”
The Sales Director of Animalcare, an egg producing company based in Ogun, Delta and Kano States, said without the maize import, the poultry sector could have collapsed.
“It would’ve been a disaster if the maize had not come in. Of our three plants, only one is producing close to full capacity due to the maize scarcity. If the maize had not come in, we wouldn’t have been producing at all. The combined quantity the four importers are bringing in is still not enough for the shortage we have in the country, which means that the demand still remains higher than the supply and could likely influence pricing. This is why government should’ve come in.”
The Managing Director of Sunchi Farms and Hatchery, Enugu, Mr. Sunday Ezeobiora, said it would have been better if the federal government granted a request made in July by the Poultry Association of Nigeria that members be allowed to import maize to ensure that it is guided to reach the farmers.
“Millers and farmers are still passing through difficulties, maize that is imported is still sold at a very high price. If the federal government had obliged our request, it shouldn’t be more than 100 -120k per metric tonnes, but now the landing cost in the east is still about 160k per mt,” he said.
A feed miller based in Ibadan, Dr Alalade Adom, commended the government “For trying to save the naira and also encourage farmers to go back to the farms. It will compel us to look inwards as a nation and change our attitude to farming.
“As a poultry farmer, the cost of feed viz a viz the price of birds and eggs is alarming also. When we were buying a tonne of feeds at 100,000, a crate of eggs is sold at N900, now a tonne of feeds sells at N140,000 and egg price is between N900 and N950.”