The Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Akwa Ibom State, Mr Solomon Ekong has said the sector is facing serious crisis aggravated the distress of maize farmers, who are producing enough for the industry.
According to him, the poultry industry was in the grip of a severe crisis due to an unprecedented and unreasonable increase in the price of maize, which is the most crucial ingredient of poultry feed and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the cost of production of eggs and broilers.
He urged the government to facilitate the poultry industry and support cultivation of maize, being used raw material for the feed industry.
He said the cost of production of chicken and eggs is higher and that they sell poultry at much below the production cost as compared to the prevailing international prices.
He said poultry farmers must also be involved in maize production, adding that this would help to stabilise prices of staple foods.
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In most parts of the country, production is undergoing normal seasonal declines.
The recent shortfall in maize production in Nigeria has pushed policymakers to search for viable alternatives. Most of the grains produced locally are consumed in various commercial sectors. About 50 p per cent of the maize produced is used as animal feed, with the poultry industry claiming the bulk of the country’s total feed production.
Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted import waivers to four agro-processing firms to import 262,000 tonnes of maize to bridge the shortfall in production and augment local production.
Before the importation, the Federal Government through President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of 30,000 tonnes of maize from the National Strategic Grain Reserve to support the PAN at a subsidised rate.
The volume of maize imported by the four firms was over half of the yearly maize imports of 400,000 tonnes.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that Nigeria’s maize production for last year would be about 11.1 million tonnes, saying that importers were expected to import 400,000 tonnes to plug the production shortfall.
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