Poultry farmers have staged a peaceful protest in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, to draw the government’s attention to the rising cost of feed currently being witnessed across the country.
The placards-carrying farmers, under the aegis of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ogun State (PANOG), urged the Federal Government to release grains from the National Strategic Reserve directly to them to bail out the industry from imminent collapse.
The PANOG members, in their scores, laid siege to the governor’s office during the peaceful rally and urged Governor Dapo Abiodun to revive the poultry business in the state.
They described as “double edged assault on the industry” the pre-election currency redesign and its current free-floating foreign exchange, which they alleged, had negatively impacted their businesses.
PANOG’s state Chairman, Idowu Asenuga, who spoke with journalists, said their plight had been made worse by the current economic and political climate, which he claimed, were threatening the sustainable production of food items because of chronic unavailability of maize, a major raw material for poultry feeds.
Asenuga said Nigeria risks a 10 million-job loss should the imminent threats to the industry caused by the rising cost of feed, as well as the non-availability of grains, are not addressed immediately.
He emphasised the industry’s contribution to food security in the country, noting that maize accounts for over 55 per cent of the composition of poultry feed as it is one of the most efficient sources of energy for all livestock.
He lamented that its price had shot up by over 300 per cent in the last few months, owing largely to insecurity in arable lands, low crop yield, speculative procurement (hoarding) and lack of post-harvest infrastructure for drying and storing that rendered the essential commodity scarce and unavailable for industry use.
The PANOG chairman said Nigeria requires over 17 million metric tonnes of maize yearly to meet its current demands. Asenuga added that the association believed it could overcome the challenges with the quality and capacity of the governor, saying that adequate attention should be given to the state of the sector.
He, however, urged the state government to convene a stakeholders’ meeting as a matter of urgency with all value chain participants within the poultry industry.