National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mr. Ezekiel Mam, has reached out to the federal government, the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial groups to get involved and help establish a framework that can enable poultry farmers to get a 5% interest rate loan to help get the once-flourishing industry to get back on its feet.
Mam has stated that the lockdown has almost crippled the industry, and expressed a real concern that if nothing was done urgently, the entire poultry business value chain would collapse. To elaborate further, there’s been a 60% increase in the price of major raw materials being used by the poultry farmers and 40% of those businesses failing.
“To say poultry farming business is in comatose would be stating the obvious -we have not had it this bad. During the lockdown, demand for poultry needs; meat and eggs, dropped, be it from consumers or major trade partners like hotels and quick service restaurants. Many farmers had no other alternative but to destroy their eggs.
“There are transportation problems as well, because most farmers tend to outsource the logistics end of the business to third party groups. We also have to pay high charges for transporting poultry to market.
“After the ease on the lockdown, when many would expect businesses to take shape, the price of raw material suddenly went up. For instance, a 100 kg of corn which was N9,000 (Nigerian naira) pre-lockdown, now goes for N20,000 or more.” he said.
Mam also advocated for other incentives that would hopefully attract young Nigerians to the farming sector, now that the country is desperate to be self-sufficient in food production.
“Poultry farming is capital intensive, we were already stabilising and meeting local demand well before the lockdown. Now, considering the fact that it’s capital intensive, we need government support for our members to bounce back.
“As I speak, many farmers have closed down their farms and laid off their employees, both permanent and ad-hoc. I think accessing a loan at 5% interest rate will be the major solution to the industry’s misfortune, and the only way to guarantee poultry farmers will make profits and contribute to the economy.”
Wale-Ojo, a former Chairman of PAN, stated that despite the sector being in trouble, some farmers already received some form of government assistance, though much more is still desperately needed.
Elaborating further, he also added that farmers who rely on bank loans for their farming activities are currently placing a lot in the hands of their bankers. Ojo firmly believes that Nigeria needs great thinkers to bail out the entire agriculture sector.
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