By Oludele Taiwo
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has called on the federal and state governments to seriously intervene to ensure that lending to the industry is at a maximum of five per cent interest rate.
The newly-elected National President of the Association, Sunday Sunchi made this known while stressing that, if all the support are given to the sector, it is expected that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the contribution of poultry to the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) would increase to about 28 per cent from the current 25 per cent.
He said poultry producers in the country are being challenged by lack of access to finance at a minimal single digit interest rate of not more than five per cent since poultry production is the cheapest source of protein supply to Nigerians.
He stated that the poultry development plan of the current leadership of the association is to see that poultry products are produced at the most affordable prices in such a way that every Nigerian will be able to buy an egg on a daily basis. In mainstreaming the above objectives, according to him, the association would work with various agricultural research institutes and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to ensure that cheaper and affordable alternative poultry feed raw materials are developed with a view to bringing down the prices of poultry feeds that is scaring people or rather making people not to produce poultry products profitable.
He said that the association, under its current leadership, would strive to make the industry self-regulating in addition to the efforts of the government.
Speaking further, he said that the most challenging aspect of the problems of poultry production is the issue of Avian Influenza (AI) that had been ravaging the poultry industry in the country.
Sunchi noted that most poultry farms are closing down because of the problems of cost of feed and Avian Influenza ravaging most poultry farms without compensation from the Government.
He appealed to the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to take the issue of oversight regulation seriously by investing in active and passive surveillance to contain the scourge of AI in the country.
“Advancing the course for vaccination against Avian Influenza is not a solution to Avian Influenza control since vaccination against other poultry diseases has not contained the diseases. The good news is that of all the subsectors of agriculture in Nigeria, poultry production is the lowest hanging fruit whose investments could have the quickest return of profit, especially in a country with the biggest mouths to feed and a thriving middle class population”, he added.