The President of the Poultry Association of Nigerian (PAN), Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim Mam has warned state governors against restriction of inter-state distribution of foods, including eggs and chickens.
He sounded the warning during a press conference in Maiduguri on Friday, saying such a move would lead to devastating impacts on food availability for already stressed Nigerians. It would also negatively affect the poultry industry, which is about the only sustainable livestock subsector in the country.
“The restrictions of inter-state movement of vehicles by the various state government is to worsen the food and protein supply situation to Nigerians, especially when ‘food’ is considered as very essential items for human health and survival.
“The situation of the poultry products market is not stable at the moment, and if urgent steps are not taken to remove the restriction on the movement of vehicles conveying such critical poultry products like Day-Old-Chicks (DOCs), meat and eggs, poultry feeds and drugs, which are daily needed by all Nigerians, the poultry industry, which is on the part of becoming the mainstay of the Nigerian livestock industry, might be completely destroyed,” he warned.
According to him; “We’re trying to communicate on the relationship between food producing companies and infrastructural sectors of economy,” explaining that the two are required to sustain the food supply chains.
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He, therefore, urged the governors to relax rules on restriction of movement of foods across the country while the lockdown lasts.
“The federal and state governments should adjust vehicles’ movement and allow trucks and buses carrying in and outbound supplies of poultry products to operate, while preventing COVID-19,” he added.
The PAN boss also urged the government to consider a bailout for farmers, especially livestock farmers, to minimize their losses associated with COVID-19 outbreaks.
“We implore the government to consider granting some palliatives to egg and day-old-chick producers,” he said, claiming that members of the association were unable to sell their chicks, eggs and feeds as a result of the lockdown in some states of the federation.
The measures, he said, are critical to national food security.
“The government at all levels should consider the plight of poultry farmers at the moment by relaxing the movement of vehicles regulation for all means of transportation carrying Day-Old Chicks (DOCs), eggs, poultry feeds, input and any other production inputs like maize, soybeans and offal for the continued production of poultry products as poultry is food and, therefore, should be considered as essential items and services,” he urged.