Something urgent needs to be done to save poultry farming from the current challenges otherwise it faces sharp decline, the Chairman of Nana Farms, Alhaji Aminu Adamu, has warned.
The chairman said the challenges are threatening over 15 million Nigerians that are earning their living from it.
Adamu called on government at all levels to collaborate with poultry farmers to save the situation before it goes beyond control, saying the subsector is facing enormous problems that needed urgent attentions to avert what he called collateral damage to the business.
He said: “What we have experienced in poultry business from the end of 2016 to date, we have never experienced it before. One, there was unprecedented increase in the price of raw materials for the feed with amaze selling as high as N150,000 per ton.
“A bag of 25kg of layers’ feed that is sold at N1,300 is being sold at N3,600 and this bag can only feed 200 birds per day.
So, if it can compensate for the price of eggs, that would have been a comfortable thing for the farmer, but then the eggs become a problem because people are no longer buying it. Two, our customers from the neighboring countries have stopped coming here to buy eggs because of the strengthening of the naira against dollar.
“Literary, every farmer in Nigeria in the last three months had a glut of eggs and we are still in the glut. Believe me, I had sold eggs at N580 per create; I was not hoping to make profit rather to cut my losses. And the problem is universal because it affects all categories of farmers whether you are small or big farmer you have faced this problem.”
Alhaji Adamu explained that poultry farmers are currently battling with problems of high cost of feeds, high cost of ingredients and low prices of eggs, lamenting that “if you add these up, the business is no longer profitable. In Africa, Nigeria is the number one in eggs production. Only South Africa, Morocco and Algeria produce more broilers than Nigeria does.”
He pointed out that prior to the 2006 Avian Influenza outbreak in Nigeria, Nigerian poultry farmers were exporting day-old chicken to neighboring countries and broiler meat to Central Africa and East Africa, lamenting that the flue had scuttled the trend.
The chairman also said over 1million small scale poultry farmers were sent out of the business courtesy of the recent setback in the poultry farming, noting that “a single backyard farmer with 200 layer birds will at least buy a 25kg of bag of feed at N3,600 which his birds will finish in just a day, now as a small farmer if he can get a production of 80 per cent, he had achieved something great because the 80 per cent was an estimated of 160 eggs which is only five creates and 10 pieces.
“So if he sells five creates at N700, he will get N3,500, then he did not even recoup the cost of his feed not to talk of his labor, drugs and the expected profit.
This is how the small scale farmers are suffering in the business.”
He said another big problem affecting the business was introducing foreigners into the business, lamenting that some Nigerians had developed the habit of bringing foreigners to produce eggs in Nigeria.
Adamu stated that there was nothing wrong if they bring somebody that can produce something which Nigerians cannot do, regretting that it was unwise to bring someone to take over what Nigerians were able to do.
“If you go to China or India, they will not allow you to produce eggs in their countries, then why Nigeria as a developing country allows Chinese or an Indian man to produce eggs in our country? If a foreigner is coming into Nigeria to do business, you don’t know what his country does to him, if his government susidised his equipment; it also gives him loans at very low interest. This is the reason why these foreigners are eventually taking over our businesses.
“I always wonder how in the first place they are being given visa that is valid for employment or business in Nigeria because if a Nigerian goes to India or China, he would not be given a visa that would allow him to do business. But here in Nigeria they produce eggs, broiler meat and feed and so on so forth.
“There is no aspect of poultry business that a Nigerian cannot handle. If you must bring in a foreigner, it must be in the areas that Nigerians cannot handle. If you give a Nigerian any poultry job and give the right remunerations, I believe he will perform. Our leaders should not be tempted to allow foreigners to jeopardize and take over jobs that Nigerians can do.’’
He said another problem was that poultry farmers were the highest consumers of maize produced in the country, so if the business is allowed to die, then the consequences would affect maize farmers because if they produce maize nobody is going to buy it, this resulted to huge glut of maize in the country.
“Government must help farmers to argument the quantity of maize they produce so that it will eventually become cheaper and then we the users of the product will buy at a lower price and therefore produce cheaper eggs for the people.
“But the problem is that we don’t enjoy incentives. If we have the right incentive, the right inputs, we can perform better. It is a kind of backward integration business; if the farmer is assisted to produce
high yield per hectare, his unit cost would be less so he wouldn’t have to sell at a very high price and you as a unit taker, you would take it and the cost of producing a kilo of broiler meat would be less. So
if somebody brings broiler meat from abroad, you can compete with him,” he noted.