By Babajide Okeowo
The Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, has warned that the 20 million jobs of Nigerian citizens would be in danger if the exorbitant prices and acute shortage of maize and soybeans, major constituents of poultry feeds, were not addressed.
This is even as the association appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and save the over N3 trillion Nigeria poultry industry from imminent collapse.
The association made these known in a letter addressed to the President and dated December 14, 2020.
The letter, which was jointly signed by the state Chairman, Idowu Asenuga, and the General Secretary, Oludare Kuforiji, was also copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, the Senate President, Chairman, Senate Committee, Chairman on Agriculture, Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture.
According to the letter, the association lamented that the price of soybeans had increased by 90 per cent, while current price of maize in comparison to 2019 has risen by 80 per cent, emphasising that the increase in both products has led to an increase in the price of poultry feeds to nearly 100 per cent.
“The poultry industry alone holds more than 6 per cent of the contribution of agriculture to the economy of Nigeria. The poultry sub-sector employs over 20 million Nigerians directly or indirectly.
That sector is now in the throes of collapse, due to acute shortage and exorbitant prices of maize and soya beans, the major constituents of poultry feeds.
The price of soya beans has increased by 90 per cent. The current price of maize in comparison to 2019 has risen by 80 per cent. Poultry feeds have increased in price by nearly 100 per cent.
Poultry farms cannot survive the current situation. Over two million direct or indirect farms businesses have closed down in the last five months as a result of the acute shortage of maize and the rising price of soya beans, including the unpatriotic activities of grain merchants, who hoard the small products available in the market.
But in order to save the poultry industry over N3 trillion investment, we passionately appeal to Your Excellency, to allow limited importation of maize and soya beans, in the short term. We also appeal to the government to ban the export of processed soya beans and soya bean meal, and check the profiteering activities of grain merchants” the letter reads in part.