Soybeans scarcity, avian influenza crippling Nigeria’s poultry industry

*Stakeholders in the poultry business industry relate that several poultry farms are closing because of the high costs of feed, including soybeans in the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Aside from the threat of bird flu, the scarcity and price hike of soybeans, a major ingredient used in poultry feeds, is fast crippling the poultry sector in Nigeria.

The country’s National Veterinary Research Institute has confirmed that Avian Influenza (AI) has resurfaced after 2 years of no reported outbreaks in the country, reports Poultry World.

Avian Flu is described as a type of influenza that affects birds, including domestic chickens and is capable of infecting humans.The outbreak occurred in 2 backyard poultry farms of multiple species of ostriches, geese, turkeys, layers, and peacocks in Kano State.

A poultry farm

Thereafter, outbreaks have been confirmed in 2 commercial farms.

In respect of shortage of soybeans for poultry feed, Nigeria faces a severe soybean shortage.

A 100kg bag of soybeans has risen to N24,000 (US$ 60.93) from N12,000 (US$ 30.47) a year ago, according to report.

Added to this dire situation for poultry farmers is the scarcity of this chicken feed ingredient in the country, which follows reports of a shortage of maize.

Onallo Akpa, Director-General of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, was quoted to have stated that several poultry farms are closing because of the high costs of feed.

Akpa stated: “It is affecting the industry negatively, as soybean and maize constitute almost 80% of raw materials in feed production, and now soybeans and maize are in short supply.”

In Nigeria, popular substitutes for soybeans include groundnut cake, cotton-seed cake, and palm kernel cake.

However, soybeans are the most preferred because of their high digestibility attribute, report said.

As a boost for the poultry industry in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has released N12.55 billion (US$ 31 million) to enhance egg and meat production and create more jobs for Nigerians.

Hassan Dalha, an agriculturist and soybean farmer, noted that a shortage of soybeans has resulted following poor rainfall last year, which resulted in a low yield, Premium Times report said.

The expert forecast that the price would continue to climb because “peasant farmers appear to be the chief producers now and the little they are growing are sold to neighbouring countries.”

As regards the need for government’s assistance for farmers, Nafiu Abdu, National President of the Soybean Farmers Association, also suggested that the Nigerian Government assist farmers with inputs early at an affordable price, and that farmers received regular training.

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