Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria (PAN) has called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for poultry farmers across the country to boost production in the industry.
In a statement made available to THISDAY, the newly - elected President of the association, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, along with other new executive council members, said more poultries have been closing down, due to the challenges they are confronting, which include; increase in interest rates on agriculture loans and high cost of raw materials such as maize and soya, causing low productivity and profit margins.
"It is unfortunate that more poultry farms are closing down than I have ever seen in our recent history. Egg glut, low egg and chicken prices have prevailed all the year round with very high cost of raw materials mainly maize and soya, and this have eroded profit margin," he stressed.
Oduntan said the banks have also stopped giving agriculture loans at nine percent but at 20-24 percent, and urged the Federal Government to allow poultry farmers to have access to single digit bank loan, which would increase steady growth in agriculture sector as he describe the current situation as a disaster waiting to happen in the industry.
While soliciting for the cooperation of all members of the association in order to make the association stronger across the nation, he said that any government decision that has to do with agriculture in the country must be made with the involvement of the poultry farmers.
"We are the largest among others and we believe that as a key stakeholder, government must seek our own input on any issue that concern agriculture in the country," he said.
He implored all members of the association to join hands with him, as the new executives embark on the very tasking, but ultimately rewarding journey of building a strong poultry association in a viable poultry industry and in a prosperous Nigeria.
The other members of the new executive council elected include six vice-national presidents to represent the nation's six geo-political zones. They are Chief Musa Gyang (North Central), Mr. Martin O. Akpa (South East), Dr. Junaid Abdulkadir (North West), Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim (North East), Dr. Femi Faniyi (South West) and Mrs. Helen Ajuwa (South South).
Listing some of the positive contributions of members of his association to the economy, Oduntan disclosed that his association directly or indirectly "employs millions of Nigerians," adding that the association members also consume a large percentage of grains produced by the local farmers in the country.
He said government should intensify its efforts to reduce the cost of maize, soya and other feed raw materials which constitute 70 percent of cost of production.
Oduntan appealed to parents, pregnant women and lactating mothers that eating an egg a day will improve a child's grades in school, while reducing maternal mortality and infant mortality. "An egg a day keeps the doctors away," he added.
He debunked the myth about eating eggs and cholesterol in the body system saying, "Countries that have the highest per capita egg consumption in the world which is over 300 eggs per person per year, have the highest life expectancy of over 80 years worldwide. Modern medical practitioners are also recommending an egg a day," he said.
He finally appealed to the Federal Government to remove duty on all agricultural inputs imported from abroad that are not being manufactured in Nigeria.
The delegate conference also produced new secretaries that were elected on zonal basis. Thus, Mr Dennis Eze (North Central), Chief Japhet Duru (South East), Alhaji Hamis Yakubu (North West), Mr Abdulkadir Raji (North East), Dr Makanjuola Segun (South West), and Mr Solomon Agbraka (South South), were elected respectively.
Other exco members that were elected are Alhaji Ali Lawan as the treasurer, Mallam Yusuf Ibrahim Gombe becomes the national publicity secretary, while Mrs Elizabeth E. Nabena was elected general secretary. Others are Dr Lanre Jimoh, the deputy financial secretary, Prince Adekunle Adenuga and Hajia Hauwa Umar as the auditors, while Mr Samson Akinoso, Mr Barnabas Dau and Alhaji Fanna Mahmud Z, were respectively elected ex-officio members.