Poultry Farmers Count Gains On Border Closure

Nigerian poultry farmers are now counting their gains as a result of the closure of the Nigeria boarders which have reduced the importation of poultry products.

Stakeholders in the Agribusiness industry in separate interviews with DAILY INDEPENDENT affirmed that they have not had it good like this; while calling on the Federal Government to ensure that the boarders remain closed so as to give room for Nigerians farmers to thrive and be able to meet local demands.

They unanimously agreed that if given the chance, will produce locally to meet the chicken and egg need of the country.

Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, former National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) stated that the closure will generate between 500 thousand and one million jobs within a two year period, adding that the local poultry industry has the capacity to produce enough chicken to satisfy local consumption and export around the continent but that Nigerians must be ready to support the industry to grow to enjoy the benefits.

He said that over the next two years, a lot of farms will expand, and lot of new farms hands will be added and it will create a million jobs.

“We have to be patient. A number of countries that have achieved success in agriculture that we are very quick to make reference to have committed to policies such as this but with a long term vision.

Oduntan who is also the Group Managing Director, Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited said that it is not only the poultry farmers that will be affected but also others along the value chain which will include; farmers planting maize, soyabeans, cattle because of the bone meal, limestone quarries, wheat and rice bran from flour mills and rice mills among other.

“A lot of trucks will need to be purchased to transport these raw materials. There will be hundreds of thousands of drivers and motor boys because we need additional transporters to move the maize and the soya beans, live chicken and eggs that will be consumed by the additional poultry farms and markets.

“We are not only talking about the hundreds of thousands of people that will load and off-load all those raw materials and finished products, you can imagine the number of farms hands and thousands of new poultry farmers that will be created.

“Imagine the animal scientists, veterinarians and other specialised and non specialised jobs that will be created. The whole value chain including traders and consumers will create wealth in the nation,” he said.

Oduntan, while speaking on pricing said that what will happen is that even if the price goes up for a while now, by the time the industry starts to produce in larger quantities, economies of scale and competition will force the prices to come down significantly, which is what has happened in all the countries where the poultry demand is being serviced by the local poultry industry.

He said that Nigerians must properly appreciate the real situation and we have to understand the short, medium and long term implications of the decisions that we take.

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“We should stop enriching other countries at our own expense. Nigeria needs to create jobs to survive. Poultry production is a low hanging fruit with remarkable short and long term benefits,” he added.

Sulaiman Taofik, Zonal Chairman Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ikorodu chapter said that farmers are now smiling to the bank because the border closure has really increased their productivity.

He said he hopes that the closure will be sustained so that farmers will be able to produce and Nigerians will have no choice of patronising locally produced poultry products.

Taofik also said that the prices of poultry products have gone a little bit up and that there has been increase demand of about 100 per cent of the poultry products.

“Just two weeks ago, we were at Ijora market, and we were so happy because there is no amount of what you produce that will be enough for them there. So, what I am trying to say is that agriculture is moving well in Nigeria now.

He therefore, called on government to empower more farmers so that they can do more.

“What government should do now is to empower more farmers and by doing this capital flights will be reduced, and the nation’s balance of trade will be healthy,” he said.

Olayinka Ayedun, a Residence Veterinary Doctor with Creative Farms in Ikorodu stated that there has been significant impact as farmers are now selling their products which is now a plus to them.

“The significance is enormous, what people look for outside the country is here in the country, and so it is enormous. A lot of farmers are happy now; someone was telling me that he did not have eggs to give to the farmers now, but in the time past before the boarder was closed he could not sell his eggs, but now that the boarder is closed he can sell his eggs,” he said.

Ayedun also called on Nigerians to be patient with the government that the boarder closure is in the best interest of local farmers as it will encourage people to produce locally.

“When we produce locally the money will still be in the system apart from people importing as a way of losing our foreign exchange,” he said.

Femi Stephen, General Secretary PAN, Lagos state said that farmers have been seeing the impact because their products are been sold as at when due, and that a lot of farmers cannot meet demands of their customers which has not been so for a very long time. “We have been seeing the impact because we are selling our product as it is required now; before we are always running helter-skelter to sell our products like processed chicken, but nowadays people are rushing our goods, since they have opened market for us.

“For now, the increment is about 60 per cent but we are still expecting more of it because by the time the production will start in mass the market will be there for us .They should be patient with us for now but by December chicken will be available everywhere,” he said.

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Dr. Ayodele Tinubu, a poultry expert said that it is true that the boarder is closed, but it will not be closed forever that what Nigerian farmers should strive to do is to ensure that they can compete favourably with others to make poultry product available, that if that is done Nigerians will not have any choice than to patronise locally produced poultry products.

He said that it has never been this better for the farmers, adding that the closure will encourage a whole lot of people to venture into the business when they see it that there is money to be made from farming.

“A nation that can feed itself is a nation that is on his way to greatness, and I think it is very good for the country.

“One advantage of patronising locally produced poultry products is that as a farmers, when we produce, we produce wholesome hygienic meat for the populace, but the imported chicken are already treated with certain chemicals that are not actually hygienic and could cause some health hazard.

“Give the Nigerian farmers another one year or so with this new technology coming in and this support from government now we can produce at competitive price comparable with our colleagues abroad,” he said.

Jasmin Egwaikhide, GOS Farms Manager in Ogun state, who deals on eggs, said that early in the year there is egg glut but the reverse is the case especially now that school children have resumed.

She said that the boarder should not be opened, that Nigerians no longer value what is been produced in the country, as they prefer to import from other countries things that are not of quality.

“The boarder should not be open. Honestly speaking, Nigerians do not value our products because of the long term importation and other countries export all nonsense into the country which does not help Nigeria’s industrialisation.

Egwaikhide further stated that she believes that Nigerian farmers can meet its local demands of poultry products if given the necessary assistance.

“If the boarder is closed no need to import chicken, farmers here will sell their chicken and make profit and they will pay their tax and our nation will be improved. Nigerians should endure it for a while, then everyone will latter enjoy it.

However, Dr. Onallo Akpa, Director-General, PAN, had in a statement said that the boarder closure is currently reducing the smuggling of chicken into the country and will further cut this down by one million tonnes annually if sustained.

He urged the Federal Government not to open the borders, especially to the importation of food items that can be produced in Nigeria, stressing that the closure had not only created market for locally-produced poultry, but had also created jobs in the last months when the borders were closed.