Hard times have hit poultry farmers in the country as many of them are in financial distress and are badly hit by feed scarcity due to the high cost of poultry feeds.
Investigations revealed that many of them are selling off their birds at ridiculously low prices in a bid to recoup some of their investments.
It was gathered there had been a shortage of soybean and maize, which is a major raw material for poultry feed in the country.
This, according to stakeholders, has led to increase in the price of soybean by as much as 193 per cent and maize by 89 per cent.
The farmers said the glut during the lockdown adversely affected their finances and ability to sustain the business.
Investigation showed that demand for day old chick has drastically dropped despite a crash in price from N600 per chick to N200.
About 20% of Ogun poultry farmers shut farms
The Chairperson of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter, Blessing Alawode, said many poultry farmers in the state had shut down their farms as a result of the high cost of feed.
According to her, available statistics showed that 20 per cent of the farmers in the state have folded up.
She said the affected farmers had either put their farms and birds for sale or downsized.
Alawode said, “Currently, not less than 15 to 20 per cent of the farmers have closed down and the bulk of this number is the smallholders with 500 to 2,000 birds.
“There is no way they can cope with the cost of production viz a viz the selling price. For instance, you buy seeds for N4,500 before salary and you have an average attendant who collects N20,000 per month.
“What I am trying to say is that at the end of the day, a smallholder is going to end every month at N300,000 loss going by feed at N4,500 and egg sold at N1000 per crate.”
She said the industry was facing serious challenges as a result of unabated rise in the prices of bird feeds and concentrates used to feed chickens.
She lamented that the feed inputs such as soybean had gone out of reach of an average poultry farmer.
The livestock farmers appealed to the Federal Government to save the Nigerian poultry industry from imminent collapse.
Alawode added that the price of the commodity had increased from N115,000 per tonne in August to N215,000 in November 2020, representing an increase of 86.95 per cent within a four-month period.
She noted that with the unabated increase in feed prices especially, the prices of soya beans and soya bean meal, the prices of eggs and chickens might go out of reach of many Nigerians.
A chicken, according to her, may be sold between N5,000 and N10,000 during Christmas depending on the size.
She made this known in a release tagged ‘Poultry Industry, a trillion-naira investment in Nigeria, faces imminent collapse as prices of maize, soya beans, soya bean meal and finished feeds rise unabatedly’.
Alawode appealed to Federal Government to come to the rescue of farmers and save poultry industry from collapse since the business was no longer profitable due to the increased prices of feeds and concentrates, which in return, skyrocket the prices of finished products such as chickens and eggs.
She also alleged large scale corruption by feed millers and merchants.
According to her, they cause artificial scarcity by hoarding the produce and illegally exporting it to neighbouring countries, putting unnecessary pressure on the industry.
She said, “In August 2020, maize and soya were sold at N170,000 and N115,000 per tonne respectively, with the market price of commercial feeds at an average of price of N3,300 per bag of 25kg. While the price of maize remained at N170,000 per tonne in September, soya jumped to N125,000 with commercial feeds at N3,600.
“In October, while the farmers were glad of a small decrease in maize to N152,000 per tonne, soya rose again to N150,000:00 per ton and commercial feeds then was N3,959.
“As of today, maize is N145,000, soya beans is N215,000. This represents 86.95 per cent increase in four months and commercial feeds at N4,400, while the market is already resisting a tray of egg for above N1,000.
“Intelligence gathering on issues around price increases in maize and soya reveal hoarding of the maize and soya by merchants, thereby causing artificial scarcity. Export of processed soya bean meal by some millers and poor harvest due to low-quality seeds caused by the climate change and insecurity in the grains producing zones, among other factors.
“We, therefore, call on Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Agriculture for a quick intervention to work around the immediate ban on the export of processed soya beans and soya bean meal until local consumption is sustained and guaranteed.
Feed millers in the country are also lamenting the scarcity of grains, especially maize and soya beans, which are important for the feed preparation of livestock animals.
They said at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday that the scarcity had led to the high cost of the grains.
The millers, under the aegis of Feed Industry Practitioner Association of Nigeria, said aside the scarcity, there had been a drop in demand for animal feed as most farmers were divesting and selling their birds.
The National Chairman of FIPAN, Mr Raymond Isindiaso, warned that the trend, if allowed to continue, could jeopardise the school feeding programme of the Federal Government, which was highly dependent on eggs.
He said that investors in the livestock value chain had witnessed a great degradation in the success they had recorded over the years.
Isindiaso attributed the grain supply challenges to flooding in most key grain-producing belts of the country and insecurity arising from banditry and kidnapping of farmers.