Poultry farmers fear that high cost of poultry feeds may soon drive them out of business
| By Augustine Adah | Feb. 25, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE rising cost of poultry feeds in the country is creating serious concern among poultry farmers and dealers. They fear that it may drive them out of the business. For instance, between March and December 2012, the price of feeds was increased three times. In March last year, a 50kg of starter mash a brand of feed for a day- old chicks, was sold for N1,600. It was increased to N1,800 in June and later jumped to N2,200 by December. A similar increment was recorded in grower and finisher mash.
Juliana Adegoke, director, Salos Enterprises, Ogijo, Ogun State, who started a poultry farm two years ago, explained that her projection at that time was to have about 2,000 birds by the end of December last year, but this was impossible. For, she has less than1,000 birds because of the high cost of feeds. Adegoke urged the federal ministry of agriculture to assist poultry farmers by reducing the prices of poultry feeds through subsidy.
The high cost of feeds has also affected the quality of eggs from many farms in the country, because the farmers have resorted to rationing feeds in their farms. Benson Arogundadi, a resident of Ikorodu, Lagos, was until last December an egg dealer of many years, but he has decided to quit the business when customers started rejecting the egg he supplied to them. The eggs were not as big as they used to be because the birds are poorly fed.. When he went to some of the poultry farmers to complain, they told him that the chicken were not given enough feed because of its high cost. Today, Arogundadi has abandoned poultry products for an online marketing business.
At a press conference in Lagos in November last year, poultry farmers and dealers in the South West zone, appealed to the federal government to intervene and halt the astronomical increase in the prices of poultry feeds and associated materials in the country. The farmers threatened to hike the prices of chicken and eggs if the high cost of feeds continued. Ayoola Oduntan, chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, South-West zone attributed the high cost to the activities of Boko Haram in the northern part of the country.
The insecurity has affected maize production, an ingredient used in the production of poultry feeds. Reports say about two million metric tonnes of maize is required annually for the production of poultry feeds, and more than 80 percent of the maize comes from the Northern parts of the country.
In the past two years, many Northern farmers have kept away from farming because of frequent attacks on them by Boko Haram members.“If the trend continues, many poultry farmers will have to reduce their operations or close down with over two million Nigerians in the business losing their jobs” Oduntan said.
He also called on the government to temporarily remove all duty and valued added taxes, on imported corn feeds, wheat and soya bean meals to encourage importation in the short term until the crisis in the poultry industry is over. The PAN chairman also wants the government to fund the research institutes to do more work in the area of hybrid seeds to boost the industry.