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Poultry Farmers Seek Support

by 5m Editor
24 October 2008, at 8:06am

NIGERIA - Poultry farmers are urging the government to offer protection at times of over-production.

Poultry farmers in Lagos State are canvassing for a government policy that gives them cover in times of excess production, according to Business Day. Their campaign follows the recent egg glut that weighed down the industry for over four months.

"This witnessed large scale destruction of eggs because of spoilage making the prices of eggs drop below profit levels as low as 250 naira (NGN) per crate, which meant great losses to the farmers," explained Folarin Afelumo, chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Lagos state Chapter, at the association's recent 2nd annual International Conference, in Lagos.

"At such difficult periods, it would have been a great relief if the federal or state government could come to our aids as the buyer of last resort."

Another way farmers believe government can assist them to avoid egg glut in future is through the introduction of eggs as part of midday meal in the nation's public schools to supplement the pupils/students' nutrition. The measure, among others, is expected to boost not only school attendance but also improve the quality of their health and academic performance.

"We are still looking forward to such proactive assistance to poultry farmers," said the farmers' leader.

The farmer was moreover saddened by the fact that as the price of eggs was falling, the price of feed raw material was rising daily.

The plight of the industry in the course of the year was worsened by what the chairman described as an unprecedented scarcity of energy and protein sources of the feed raw materials, particularly maize, soybean meal and groundnut cakes.

"In the history of the poultry industry in Nigeria, this is the first time the price of maize will increase from NGN35,000 to over NGN80,000 per metric ton within five to six months in the current year, with soybean meal rising from NGN55,000 to over NGN135,000 per metric ton. Also, groundnut cake rose from NGN32,000 to over NGN110,000 metric tons within such a short period, a rise of over 200 percent in some cases."

The result is that, according to Mr Afelumo, the industry which boasts of 23,000 poultry farmers and employs over 500,000 farm hands, skilled and unskilled, is currently witnessing a downsizing and large-scale exodus of skilled people because of this problem that is still persisting, the article concludes.

"This has resulted in unemployment and large-scale default in payment of agricultural loans to farmers. The release of maize from the nation's strategic grain reserve was inadequate to make any significant change during this problem. The Federal Government released to Lagos State farmers a total of 90 metric tons of maize or three trailer loads for this period, which is hardly enough for a day’s consumption of an average farmer with 200,000 birds. The state did not consider any assistance to the poultry farmers in its allocation of grains, despite our requests during this period."

5m Editor