Says 350,000 Job Lost To Maize Price Hike, Others
Poultry farmers in Ogun State have bemoaned what they termed “arbitrary increase” in the price of maize and other essential ingredients used in poultry feed production, saying the industry is facing imminent collapse.
According to the Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ogun State (PANOG), Mrs. Blessing Isioma Alawode more than 350,000 poultry farmers have lost their jobs, while over 1,000 egg farmers have been forced out of business as a result of the increase in the prices of maize and other essential inputs.
At a press conference held at the association’s secretariat in Abeokuta, Alawode lamented that in March the price of maize was increased from N97, 000 to N160, 000 per metric tonne, representing 65 per cent increase.
She added that the price of Soya bean meal was also increased from N110, 000 to N135, 000 per tonne, representing 22 per cent increase.
While attributing the alarming increase and scarcity of maize and other ingredients to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said the industry is under attack. “Many of our farmers have downsized their production capacity by over 300,000 birds, while others have buried thousands of crates of eggs to save themselves from total collapse.
“Feed constitutes 75 per cent or more of what makes the capital of what goes into the poultry business. The increase and scarcity of maize and soya bean meal are forcing farmers to sell their eggs and birds at a very cheap price.
“The arbitrary increase in the price of maize was at a high level of N90, 000 – N97, 000 per Metric Tonne (mt), which today is now scarce and the price at N150, 000 – N160, 000 per mt, with no end in sight for the price increase for a material that constitutes an average of 55 per cent of the poultry feed ration.
“Soya bean meal and other protein sources are also experiencing a significant increase in prices greater than or equal to 22 per cent. The price in March was an an average of N110, 000 per tonne; today, the price is at a minimum of N135, 000 per tonne.
“During this same period, the price of egg plummeted drastically below the cost of production with the only other option being to incur additional cost in the destruction of the produced eggs, making it a loss situation at both ends of the business ladder.
Continuing, she said: “The only alternative then is to salvage the business capital and throw millions of workers and farm dependent – egg sellers, birds market men and women, transporters, community beneficiaries into economic crisis, leading to loss of jobs and means of livelihood.”
To forestall the collapse of the industry, Alawode appealed to the state government through the ministry of agriculture to “alleviate the plights of farmers by releasing some grains – maize, sorghum and soya beans to the organised farmers’ group just like her counterpart in Lagos has done, as this has the capacity to force the prices down a bit.
She also urged the Federal Government to immediately release grains from its reserves to cushion the effects of the scarcity and help reduce price, calling for “structured widows of importation through the sea and land borders for maize and soya bean meal to support the industry, saying it is obvious that grain/crop farmers cannot sustain their yearly requirements.”