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Jos harmattan affects poultry operators, birds

The Poultry Farmers Association in Plateau State has expressed worry over the level of challenges faced by poultry operators in the state, particularly in Jos…

The Poultry Farmers Association in Plateau State has expressed worry over the level of challenges faced by poultry operators in the state, particularly in Jos the capital and other parts with intense cold.

Speaking with Daily Trust on Sunday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, on their plight, the association’s Chairman, Johnson Bagudu, said the harmattan which comes with severe cold, especially in January, has affected the poultry business in many ways as the cold has several detrimental impact on the birds/chickens.

This outcome, according to him, poses lots of challenges for poultry owners, while making strenuous efforts to remain in business and keep afloat. 

“In fact, the harmattan is kind of a disaster to us because the cold affects the chickens as well as their production drastically. The production of the chickens in this harmattan has dropped to about 70 percent.

“Yet the chickens keep eating at the normal rate which must be provided by the poultry owners despite their low production. That implies that the business undoubtedly suffers some setbacks this period.

“Besides, many chickens have died due to the weather, and since no one can actually regulate or control the weather, the chicken owners leave everything to fate.

“During this harmattan period you will see the chickens looking sickly, dull and cold, but whenever the weather is a little bit warm, you will see them very agile/active and jumping from one place to the other,” he said.

According to Bagudu, they can’t really do anything to keep the chickens warm during the harmattan, because at their matured stage their feathers serve as protection.

Bagudu had last year cried out to the government to assist with the challenges being faced by the poultry farmers, saying it has led to some of them quitting the business.

He said among the problems are the high cost of feeds, day-old chicks, their drugs/treatment as well as consistent and ready market for sales.

Bagudu said the eggs produced in Plateau State before was among the best in the country. He said it is imperative for the government to come to their aid because the employment opportunity the poultry industry provided the youths in the state has helped to reduce crime and criminality, drug abuse and other societal ills associated with unemployment and idleness.

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