NIGERIA – The poultry industry in Nigeria is on the verge of total collapse due to the persistent hike in the price of maize, a major feed for birds in the subsector, the Poultry Association of Nigeria has expressed panic.

The statement, which was jointly signed by PAN’s National President, Sunday Ezeobiora, and Director-General, Onallo Akpa, stated that there had been an upward surge in the cost of maize, forcing farmers to shut down their operations

According to the association, the poultry subsector in the country is heading for a crash if the government failed to salvage the industry, appealing to the government to employ urgent intervention.

The association attributes the rise in the cost of maize because local production has been hindered coupled with the near absence or scarcity of the product causing farmers to close down their poultry farms at the moment. After all, it is no longer sustainable to feed the birds and be in business.

“We are aware that the government has declared a state of emergency on the food security situation of the country, but the situation of the poultry industry calls for an urgent intervention to save the industry from total collapse,” read the statement.

According to farmers who spoke with The PUNCH, maize is a major component (60 percent to 70 percent) of poultry feed, and the increase in the cause of maize because of an import ban had translated to a rise in the price of eggs for the average Nigerian.

Maize, one of the most popular food crops in Nigeria, is widely consumed by millions of Nigerians and is also used for the production of animal feeds.

However, local production has for years lagged consumption, a situation that has fueled importation with implications for Nigeria’s currency and job creation. Nigeria has 400,000 metric tonnes of maize production shortfall.

Worst still, in 2020, the Federal Government banned the importation of maize into the country as the CBN added maize to the list of items restricted from accessing foreign exchange to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs.

Later, the FG gave concessions to four companies (Premier Feeds, Mills Wacot, Chi Farms, and Crown Flour) to import 262,000 tonnes of maize because of the importance of maize to the poultry industry.

Poultry farmers are therefore calling upon the government to lift the ban on maize, arguing that maize is expensive because a few years ago, the importation of maize was limited, and the bulk of the maize used by feed manufacturers is imported.

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