NIGERIA – Poultry Farmers in Nigeria have lamented the rising cost of Poultry Feeds which they say continues to dwindle their profit, and put the export of products and employment in jeopardy, according to the Poultry Association of Nigeria.

According to poultry farmers, maize is a major component (60 percent to 70 percent) of poultry feed.

However, the country is experiencing a shortage in maize supply owing to the intensifying effects of climate change, worsening insecurity, and several disruptions in the food supply chain. As a result, there has been a sudden and speedy rise in the prices of maize.

Experts show that the average prices of maize in the country have surged by 110.9 percent to N480,000 per tonne in August from N227,500 per tonne in June, the highest monthly surge on record negatively affecting the sector.

Similarly, the country relies on imports for its soybean and micro ingredients – vaccines and drugs for birds, and with the recent naira devaluation, their prices have tripled.

BusinessDay’s survey at some markets in Lagos shows that a 25kg bag of layer marsh now sells for N7,800 and N8,000, depending on the brand, as against N6,000 in January, while growers mash now sells for N7,000 as against N6,000.

“The situation on the ground currently is the worst I have seen since I started my poultry farm over 30 years ago. How can maize be more expensive than soybean that we are even importing the bulk of our needs?” Dayo Gawti, chief executive officer at Fdot Farms, Kwara State, said.

While at the international market, a metric tonne of maize sells for $216.82 (N194,400), using the current black market exchange rate, according to data from the International Grain Council. This shows that local maize prices are N285,600 higher than the current international price.

“In the last five weeks prices of maize jumped by over 100 percent and this is hurting the industry badly,” said Onallo Akpa, director general of the Poultry Association of Nigeria.

Feed constitutes 70 percent of the cost of production for poultry farmers and any hike in the prices of maize and soybean will push up farmers’ production costs.

According to experts, the situation will result in a massive loss of jobs in a sector that is creating many jobs in the country.

Dairo, who has been a poultry farmer for 12 years, told BusinessDay that he could no longer afford to feed his 5,000-layer birds and additional 1,000 boiler birds in his battery cage farm regularly as feed prices doubled.

His situation is similar to what millions of poultry farmers are currently experiencing across the country.

According to Akpa, nearly 30 percent of poultry farmers have shut down their operations, and those still operating are incurring losses.

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