Food Security: Poultry farmers seek reduction of interest rate, other incentives

*Association discussing with Federal Government of Nigeria over palliative for poultry farmers

*Incentives would attract young Nigerians to farming as the country desires self-sufficient in food production ─PAN President

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Towards reviving the fortune of the agricultural sub-sector of the economy and ensuring self-sufficiency in food production, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has expressed concerns over the recent 60 percent increase in the prices of major raw materials used by poultry farmers, and business failure of about 40 percent farmers.

Mr. Ezekiel Mam, National President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, accordingly, has called on the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial operators to intervene and design a framework to enable poultry farmers to access loan at five percent interest rate.

Mam, in a chat with ThisDay at the weekend said the aim was to salvage the once flourishing industry in the country, recalled how the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and subsequent lockdown have almost crippled the industry.

He expressed the fear that if nothing was urgently done to revive poultry activities, the entire business value chain would fall.

“To say poultry farming business is in comatose is like stating the obvious -we have not had it this bad.

“During the lockdown, demand for poultry needs; meat and eggs, dropped and many farmers had no other alternative but to destroy their eggs.

“As a result of the restriction, our major trade partners like the hotels, quick service restaurant and events centres were not allowed to open.

“There was also transportation problem because most of the farmers outsource the logistics arm of the business.”

The PAN National President further stressed that “in some cases, consumers look for alternatives. Hence, there was a sharp difference between the supply rate and demand rate.

“After the ease on the lockdown, when many would expect businesses to take shape, the price of raw material suddenly went up.

“For instance, a 100kg of maize which was N9,000 before the lockdown now goes for N20,000 and above.

“As I speak now, for any farmer to arrange feed (grains and corns), the farmer has to buy at exorbitant prices. We also have to pay high charges for transporting poultry to markets.”

On ways to curtail the high capital intensive outlook of the industry, Mam, who stated that the association is still discussing with the Federal Government over palliative for farmers, advocated other incentives that would attract young Nigerians to farming now that the country is desperate to be self-sufficient in food production.

He said: “Poultry farming is capital intensive, we were already stabilising and meeting local demand well before the lockdown.

“Now, considering the fact that it’s capital intensive, we need government support for our members to bounce back.

“As I speak, many farmers have closed down their farms and laid off their employees, both permanent and ad-hoc.

“Though we are talking with federal government on palliative for members, I think the major solution to the industry’s misfortune and long term goal is for us to be able to access loan at five per cent interest rate.

“This is the only way poultry farmers can be sure of making profits and contribute well to the economy.”

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