By Mercy Omoike
Lagos, June 23, 2021 The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Lagos chapter, has expressed its readiness to seek the CBN’s intervention in procuring maize, so as to reduce the cost of poultry feed in the country.
PAN Chairman, Mr Godwin Egbebe, gave this indication in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday, in Lagos.
Egbebe said the previous intervention of the apex bank in the procurement of maize helped in reducing the hike in the prices of poultry products while it lasted.
“The price of poultry products have continued to soar like every other food item in the market.
“The major reason for the rise in the prices of poultry products is still because of the unavailability and high prices of corn and Soya.
“Even the cost of poultry feed keeps changing every day. It will take a while to get respite from this situation in the sector. What we plan to do, as an association, is to meet with the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) next week, to interface our procurement of poultry feed,’’.
Egbegbe stated that a few months back the CBN helped in ameliorating the situation in the poultry sector by discounting the price of maize for poultry farmers.
“If not for the CBN intervention, the middlemen would have bought off the maize and we will be at their mercy in procuring the produce from them.
“Now, the maize from the apex bank’s intervention has finished and its price in the market has gone up again.
“With this recent increase in the price of maize, we might even have it worse in the cost of poultry products, if the CBN does not intervene again,” the chairman said.
Egbebe said the association was hopeful of a favourable response from the bank, to cushion the hike in the prices of poultry products.
“We hope for a favourable response from the CBN as the apex bank has the money to mop up maize from farmers, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme, and sell to us poultry farmers at lower prices or even at the cost price.
“We will appeal to the bank to also intervene in Soya, as they did for corn, because they are the major components of poultry feed.
“If we can easily get access to these major ingredients of poultry feed and at affordable prices, it will go a long way to cushion the effects on the sector and the price of feed will come down”, he said.
Egbebe blamed middlemen and retailers of poultry products for the unnecessary hike in the prices of poultry produce, because poultry farmers still sold their produce at affordable prices.
“We still sell a crate of eggs from the farm between N1,000 and N1, 200 but the retailers and middlemen sell up to N1,500 and N1,800 per crate, to make extra profit.
“In Nigeria, the producers are always at the receiving end, while the retailers make the bulk of the profit. Every other day, they increase the prices of poultry products at a whim.
“Even this hike in the prices of poultry products has affected the Home-grown School Feeding programme because they are unable to purchase eggs for the school children.
“The programme coordinators have asked me to speak to my members to sell their produce at lower prices but at whose expense?
“They have been doing it before but they can no longer afford it because of scarcity of eggs.
“This is actually not the best of times to venture into poultry business, because of this continuous fluctuations and hike in the cost of poultry materials’’, he said.