By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, CON, has expressed concern over poultry businesses closing down just as he expressed the Ministry’s readiness to tackle the challenges faced by poultry farmers to boost Food and Nutrition Security in the country.
The Minister made this known when the leadership of Poultry Association of Nigeria, paid him a courtesy visit in his office recently in Abuja.
He pointed out that the current state of food security was threatened by issues of availability and affordability, stressing that malnutrition and rates of food inflation required that we work all year round to ensure increased food production. while putting in place, measures to make food available, accessible, and affordable for the populace.
The Minister in a statement noted that the Ministry was highly concerned especially seeing poultry businesses close down, adding that it was part of the reason why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, declared emergency on food security.
Kyari, therefore assured that the issues raised by the Association would be looked into, pointing out that steps had been taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria to lift restrictions on importation, among other issues.
Earlier, the National President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora stated that there were heightened tension and fears over the entire poultry landscape in the country at the moment, which he said was in relation to the refusal of the restrictions placed on the importation of poultry and poultry products like eggs, dairy products among others.
He pointed out that the Association clamoured for more political will from Government to initiate a sustainable poultry development policy with a clear cut Action Plan, noting that the recent development (according to the pronouncement from Central Bank of Nigeria) would make Nigeria revert to the pre year 2000 where Nigeria was completely a dumping ground for all sorts of imported poultry products.
Speaking further, the President, highlighted the implications and requested for specific quick win incentives to allow for the importation of 3 million metric tons of Maize and 500, 000 tons of Soyabean to augment the supply and demand situation for the 2023/2024 poultry farming seasons among other things.
In her remarks, the Director Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs. Winnie Lai Solarin revealed that poultry business was one of the most commercialised industry in the livestock sector and according to World Bank, it has 95% chance of reducing poverty and has boosted National Gross Domestic Product of the country.
The Director, however stated that the poultry business was currently threatened just like any other business particularly in the face of insecurity and rising cost of feed in the country, adding that Feed constitute about 70% of the production cost and had led to closure of businesses.