By Oludele Taiwo
The National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Sunday Ezeobiora, has called for a special and substantial attention to be given for poultry production in order to produce cheap and enough poultry meat and eggs for good protein sources for the people. He stated this in his remarks on the launching of the AFD-Feed Africa-Food Sovereignty and resilience summit in Dakar, Senegal. He said at the moment, there are over one billion people currently underfed and malnourished and that the sure and best way to get people out of hunger and poverty is to give attention to the sector’s production in order to eliminate malnourishment among the people.
He noted that the overall challenge of the agricultural sector to the economic development of the country was that the political class must muscle the willpower to unleash community and constituency agricultural development that would produce and provide food for the community and the people. Speaking further, he said Nigeria must be seen to benefit from the African Development Bank (AfDB) financial support in such a way that the poultry industry, which is at present contributing over 25 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy and providing over 25 million direct and indirect employment, is seen to stand out the more among the agricultural commodities that would ensure that Nigeria attain and achieve objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“It is true that all attention by all African nations Presidents should be on how to feed their people, as hunger could be the basic source of human security, peace and order. That is why the all African Heads of State Summit on Feed Africa in Dakar in January 2023 was of great importance”, he noted. Ezeobiora disclosed further that this underscored the presence of nearly all African Heads of State and Ministers at that meeting and the promise of the African Development Fund (ADF) to deploy financial resources to assist and secure Africa’s food security and resilience. While we have all been inundated with dumping of food items on the economy of most African nations in the name of importation of food to the tune of over $75 billion annually, and still over 283 million Africans go to bed hungry. What has become of our own efforts to feed ourselves?
“What has been of concern to us at the poultry industry in Nigeria have been the spate of smuggling of poultry and poultry products into Nigeria, despite the phenomenal growth of the Nigerian poultry industry in the midst of high cost of production. Now that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has promised to support the Feed the Nation initiative with $1.5 billion, what should be the procedure to disbursing the money to support the private sectors that are the engine of production and growth of agriculture all over the world? Is it still going to be business as usual when we hear that the financial facility will or shall be supporting 20 million farmers in Africa to produce 38 million metric tons of food?”, he wondered.
It is, therefore, the appeal of the leadership of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) that as Nigeria strive to get its own share of the financial support; let every critical sector of the Nigerian agriculture be allocated this money with specific mandate for deliveries. All efforts must also be made such that emphasis is placed on support to small scale family farms, who are at present, ensuring the sustenance of the food security of the various African countries”, he added.