10 January 2013

Nigeria: Housewives Lament Scarcity of Local Chicken in Markets

Some housewives in Abuja have expressed concern over the scarcity of locally bred chicken in the various markets around the federal Capital Territory.

The respondents made their views known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mrs Oke Johnson, who said she preferred local chicken to hybrid ones, expressed shock over the scarcity of local chicken. "I noticed that our locally bred chicken cannot be found easily now; what you see now is hybrid breed chickens which are anything but tasty. "All we eat now are all denatured food -- polished rice, hybrid bred fruits and vegetables; that is why we experience all manner of illnesses; please can someone help us recover ourselves." Mrs Nana Akpan, who said she often bought local chicken from villagers, said she recently noticed that the number had reduced significantly. She urged the government to encourage production of local chickens, rice and fruits, among others. "I prefer local chickens and eggs but to my dismay; I cannot see them to buy, and when available, they are very expensive.

"I wanted to buy an egg and I was told it is N50 each against N20 or N25 for the hybrid bred chicken eggs which are bigger in size.

Mrs Sandra Ani, who was on a visit to Abuja from Rivers State, noted that other local foodstuffs were also scarce. Ani said that as a young girl, it was fun rearing and feeding local chicken and gathering their droppings for the farm.

"Let us go back to the old times and do it better; It was another means of creating employment and alleviating poverty.

"When you keep these animals you can confidently sell them off when you are faced with money problems."

In most markets in the FCT, local chickens and eggs were scarce and when seen, very expensive. The small sized local chicken currently goes for between N1,500 and N1,800 as against N700 to N900 a year ago. Mr Emmanuel Okoh, a dealer in chicken at Karu Market attributed the scarcity to the lack of patience on everyone's part - farmer, seller and consumer.

Okoh noted that people engaged in businesses that yielded returns very fast and as such would not want to waste time rearing local chicken which took some time to mature. Also, the seller wants fast money, while the consumer wants a sizeable chicken at lower cost.

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