Nigeria: COVID-19 Forces 350,000 Poultry Farmers Out of Business in Ogun

Abeokuta — No fewer than 350,000 poultry farmers have been forced out of business in Ogun State from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the State Chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mrs Isioma Blessing Alawode, has disclosed.

Addressing newsmen yesterday in Abeokuta on the plight of the poultry farmers, Alawode raised an alarm over the imminent collapse of the poultry industry following what she called "an arbitrary increase in the price of maize and other essential poultry feeds."

She stated that in March this year, the price of maize was increased from N97,000 to N160,000 per metric ton, representing a 65 per cent increase, while the price of a soya bean meal was also increased from N110,000 to N135,000 per ton, representing a 22 per cent increase.

"The poultry industry is under siege. Many of our farmers have downsized their production capacity by over 300,000 birds, while many others have buried thousands of crates of eggs to save themselves from total collapse.

"Feed constitutes 75 per cent or more of what makes the capital of what goes into the poultry business. The increase and scarcity of maize and soya bean meal are forcing farmers to sell their eggs and birds at very cheap prices," the PAN Chairman said.

Alawode appealed to the state government through the Ministry of Agriculture to "alleviate the plight of farmers by releasing some grains - maize, sorghum and soya beans - to the organised farmers' group as its counterpart in Lagos has done, as this has the capacity to force the prices down a bit."

She also urged the federal government to immediately release grains from the grain reserve to cushion the effects of the scarcity and help reduce price.

Alawode equally called on the federal government to give "a structured window of importation through the sea and land borders for maize and soya bean meals to support the poultry industry as it is obvious that our grain/crop farmers cannot sustain our yearly requirements."

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