President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 5,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of maize from the National Strategic Grains Reserve to support the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at a subsidised rate.
The subsidised rate is N90,000 per MT, as against the current market price of N170, 000.
This was conveyed to the Minster of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, in a letter from State House.
The letter was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, according to a statement issued by Theodore Ogaziechi, the ministry’s Director of Information on Thursday.
“The Poultry industry, which accounts for about 27 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of the economy and provides about 20 million direct and indirect employments, will heave a sigh of relief as this will to a great extent help resolve the challenge of the poultry feeds ravaging the industry,” the statement reads.
The statement said Mr Nanono had assured the poultry farmers of the readiness of the ministry to immediately comply with the presidential directive “in order to salvage the huge investment of about N10 trillion in the industry.”
Before now, the CBN had announced the ban on the maize importation in an effort to boost local production.
Meanwhile, weeks after the CBN stopped the issuance of forex for the importation of maize, the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), conducted a market survey in Abuja and Akwa Ibom.
Findings from the survey showed the prices of poultry and fish feed have increased across the country.
Traders and farmers, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES attributed the hike in prices to the scarcity and sudden increase in the cost of the grain.
According to the survey, 25kg bag of poultry feed called ‘Starter’ that sold N4,000 before now, had since risen to N4,200, while the feed meant for older birds, called ‘Finisher’ now goes for N4,000 from the previous price of N3,700.
Also, a 15kg bag of Nigerian-made fish feed that sold for N7,500 for 2mm before the announcement of the policy, has increased to N8,100.
Similarly, the same amount of fish feed for 3mm fish size has now increased from N6,300 to N7,500, while its 9mm equivalent has increased to N5,000 from N3,900.
To remedy this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on August 6, granted approval to four agro processing companies to import 262,000 tons of maize and corn in the bid to complement the anticipated shortfall of the commodity in the country.
President Buhari had on Wednesday through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, expressed the concern of his administration about the sudden spiral of food prices, at a time when the economy is already mired in a slowdown occasioned by the global coronavirus situation.
The president assured Nigerians that the situation is transient and that his administration has already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.
“While providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short lived one,” Mr Buhari was quoted to have said.