• Commends intervention in poultry
The General Manager of Premier Feeds Limited (PFL), one of the major producers of poultry feeds in Nigeria, Mr Austin Daylop, has called on government at all levels to fix rising prices of food. He also expressed satisfaction over the release of the 50,000 metric tonnes of maize to the poultry industry. This has impacted the industry a little positively, he said.
Insecurity in the grain-producing states, and by extension in all parts of the country, had worsened the demand-supply gap of food crops and industrial inputs such as feeds ingredients, product movement and market penetration.
Added to that mix is the farmer-herder crisis in key farm hubs, which has impacted grain production negatively. As population increase intensifies competition for grains between industrial food processors for humans/direct consumption and animal feeds producers, constantly pushing prices up.
But to redress the shortcomings in poultry farming, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently made good its promise to release 300,000 metric tonnes of maize into the Nigerian market, however in tranches. Daylop said: “We are encouraged by this CBN intervention and have witnessed the salutary effect it had, by ameliorating rising market prices for maize. This is a positive start in finding lasting solutions to the critical national concern.”
The apex bank’s February 2021 release of 50,000 metric tonnes of maize was in fulfilment of its promise to drop the price of the commodity.
The 50,000 metric tonnes of maize, released in the second week of February, is already generating intended impact as maize price has reduced from N200,000 per metric tonne to about N180,000.
Expectations within the industry are that there’ll be a further reduction in the coming days. Experts in the industry have welcomed the CBN’s move, describing it as a stitch in time for an industry that was almost facing the threat of extinction.
Daylop, who expressed his views over the development, also confirmed that the release the maize was already having some impact on the industry.
While commending the CBN for its prompt intervention, he also called for a more concerted effort to be made by the Federal Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and the CBN to fix the issue of the rising prices of food in the country, stating that it was imperative for the government and stakeholders in the industry to work together and fashion out a lasting solution to high cost of consumables across the country.
He said: “If we are going to really solve food prices, we all must come to the table to address the root cause of these challenges and work towards sustainable solutions for farmers, feed millers, fish and poultry farmers, and all other stakeholders.”
Daylop explained that one of such ways was to adopt the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the CBN in partnership with the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) for the maize and soybean industry.
“A similar scheme such as the one for rice should also be introduced for maize and soybean production. It will definitely help to mitigate rural-urban migration by local farmers brought on by the insecurity challenges, especially in the northern states where maize and soybean are cultivated,” he said.
Like other players and experts in the agro-food industry have suggested, Daylop added that what the country needs right now is a collaboration among all key stakeholders to develop a robust field analysis and data that would help in policy formulation.
“Continued and collaborative partnerships between the relevant Government authorities, and industry stakeholders such as the Maize Growers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), and Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) will help to provide critical field data so policymakers can understand the input required to expand the yield capacity of local farmers,” he added.
As the country approaches the new cultivation season for maize and soybean in April- May, the Premier Feeds boss said it is expected that decisive actions would be taken to meet the demands of Nigeria’s growing population and prevent them from getting into another cycle of shortfalls.