Lagos- Poultry farmers in the country have condemned the scarcity and continuous rise in the price of maize, stressing that it posed a major threat to their businesses and food security in the country and it could lead to the collapse of the poultry industry.
According to the farmers maize, which constitutes over 50 per cent of poultry feed, is currently very scarce; and where available, the prices have skyrocketed and cannot be afforded by majority of them.
Emwinghare Osaze, a Benin based poultry farmer, described the current scarcity and increase in the price of maize as a threat to the poultry business.
“The government is trying to discourage the importation of frozen chicken and majority of us poultry farmers are trying to go into broiler production and processing. But with this increase in the price of maize and the non-availability, I really don’t see how we are going to survive,” he said.
Alfred Mrakpor, Delta State Chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) called on the government to permit the importation of maize into Nigeria as a result of the shortage of the product.
He said that the scarcity of maize is a threat to the country’s food security, as he said that several poultry farms had already shut down .
“The rising cost of maize is threatening livelihoods of small businesses in Nigeria. It is not only poultry farmers’ investments that are threatened, but also other players in the value chain such as feed producers, chicken and egg vendors, processors, grain traders, veterinary doctors and drug vendors among others, thus plunging the economy into deeper crisis,” he said.
Blessing Dominic, a Plateau State based poultry farmer who rears both broiler and layer birds, said her birds no longer feed properly due to the unavailability of feeds as a result of the scarcity of maize.
“The painful thing is that there is very limited feed available in the market. When we complained to the local companies that produce feed, they said they cannot produce feed due to maize scarcity. At this point, we are really suffering, the government should do something and help us survive.”
Shehu Muazu, who supplies grains said his search for maize to supply his customers has been fruitless and that the high prices and scarcity of the crop had instilled fear amongst animal feed manufacturers.
“For past three weeks, I have been receiving calls from feed mills that they need more maize but we cannot find any because of the current scarcity. This is the business I depend on to make ends meet. If I cannot supply, then I also have a problem because I would not be able to feed my family.
Also Austin Eze, a maize supplier said the poultry industry is in dire situation as a result of the scarcity.
“We are getting to the point where there will almost be nothing available for anybody to use. On a normal day, when you go to buy maize in some markets, you can fill 40 trucks. Currently, you cannot even fill a truck. The scarcity of maize is a major problem right now,” he said.