Poultry Farmers have lamented the rising increase in Poultry Feeds which they say continues to dwindle their profit, and put export of product and employment in jeopardy. In January 2020, a bag of feeds sold for about N2, 800, but rose sharply to N4, 500 in July, and currently sells for N5, 500.
Poultry Farmers who spoke to BusinessDay said the dramatic rise in price of major inputs, like maize and Soya has fueled the spike in cost of feed.
Between November 2019 and January 2021, the price of maize (per metric ton) rose from N85, 000 to N180, 000, indicating over 100% increment. Similar increment has also been seen in soya beans with prices ranging from N135, 000 per tonne of soyabean to N200, 000. An Average bag of 100kg soya cost N21, 000, according to BusinessDay findings.
Lamenting frequent increment in cost of feeds, Onallo Akpa, Director General, Poultry Association of Nigeria, said most poultry Farmers currently run on losses owing to the low purchasing power of the people against the high cost of production.
He added that Nigeria has the expertise, skills and facilities to meet local demands and have excess for Export but the cost of inputs has been a major setback.
“The high cost of input is a measure set back for us in Poultry. We have the capacity to produce in excess and even create availability for exports but our predicament is the absence of critical ingredients for feed production which is the bedrock of poultry production and these raw materials are maize and soya beans.
“They are not available and when they are available, they are not affordable, that has led to the shut down of some farms and those still in operation are not operating at a margin that would keep the business sustainable.
Akpa said his greatest concern is that the country could become a dumping ground for smuggled products or physible importation. “If that happens, the likelihood of us getting additional 10 to 20 million people out of the unemployment market is staring us in the face.”
According to The Poultry Association of Nigeria, Consumption of poultry has been increasing in the past few years with an average growth rate of 3.19% between 2016 and 2018. In 2017, the Association reported that annual demand for poultry products exceeded $1.39 billion, which equates to 165 million birds, 650,000 tonnes of eggs and 290,000 tonnes of meat. The association’s figures show that at the time only 30% of demand was met by local production while the remaining 70% was foreign sourced.
Also Data from FAO research shows that a total of 342,000 tonnes of poultry was consumed in the country in 2018 which means about 174,000 tonnes of poultry was imported, giving foreign products a slight edge in the market at 51% of consumption.
In 2019, the country’s poultry population rose to an estimated 180 million, and an annual output in excess of 700,000 metric tonnes of eggs. This translates to about 450 million crates of eggs and 300,000 metric tonnes of meat.
In his reaction, the Managing Director, VD&S Farms, Folake Aina, noted that the potential for job creation and export would only be attained when a conducive environment is provided for Poultry production in the country
She urged the government to encourage and surge local production of maize and soya which are major ingredients for feed production. She said the government should regulate the markets by off-taking from farmers when there is excess produce, stored in the reserve to sell at better prices in future.
Aina said “We want the government to create a conducive production environment, subsidize electricity, encourage commercial production of crops like soya and maize. We don’t want the importation of maize, but the reality is that we don’t have maize in the country. If maize is already scarce and expensive in January being a harvest period, how do we survive to the next harvest season which is in October- November?”
She said Nigeria at the moment has a large pull of enlightened and educated people, especially youths who are interested in going in Agriculture but are discouraged by huge costs.
“Poultry was a very lucrative business but right now, you can barely pay salaries to those working on the farm. The smuggled poultry products have an edge over the locally produced ones and people would rather go for them not minding the health implications because they are less expensive.”
She said the cost of feed in the last one year has been on the rise and keeps rising on a weekly basis. “Every poultry farmer I know now, especially those into egg production, are running at loss. They are barely breaking even because of the cost of feeds,” she lamented.
Aina further explained that despite the insufficient production of maize in the country, farmers still export to get more returns
“The maize we have in the country is not sufficient. Our locally produced maize is better and have more nutritional content and it is highly preferable, but with the rise in forex, a lot of these local producers would rather export their products since it yields more money than selling it within the country”
“Now due to the exchange rate, the imported maize is really high that farmers can’t purchase. The Naira has been devalued and if you are to bring in the less than 15% micro ingredients that are being imported, you are bringing it at the rate of N490 or N500 to a Dollar and the cost of custom duties is another expense to be considered,” she explained.
An Abuja based poultry farmer, Aminat Isah also called on government to ensure easy access to funds allocated for Agricultural purposes
“Government should back up their words with action. Let the budgetary allocation meet the current need indeed. Even the loan facilities should be monitored to ensure it gets to the farmers who need them.
“We want government interest. Let them look at what it takes to produce, give us a target of what we should produce and export. These would create job opportunities and add to the GDP of the economy.”
Meanwhile, the broiler supervisor, CSS Farm, Hemba Loveth, has encouraged poultry Farmers to acquire International Organization for Standardization, ISO, certification, as this would help in global competition.
“Feeds constitute over 70% input in poultry, if the cost can be subsidized, it would help improve the quantity of production but for the quality of products, NAFDAC is not enough, every farm needs to be ISO certified.
“There is a need to get both quality management and food safety management certificate and as well practice what is demanded. This standard would promote acceptance globally” she concluded.