By Oludele Taiwo
Poultry farmers, under the aegis of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), have called on the Federal Government to re-introduce the school feeding programme so as to absolve some of the eggs and chicken meat from farmers to ease their pain. The farmers, while addressing newsmen in Ibadan through its South West Chairman, Rev. Gideon Oluleye, stated that policies such as naira redesign and increment in interest rate have affected the industry negatively.
“We want the Federal Government, as a matter of urgency, to resuscitate the school feeding programme as eggs and chicken meat form the major component of the programme. This will go a long way in absolving some of the eggs and chicken meat from the farmers”, he said while noting that the current security challenges across the country was also affecting the industry negatively, stressing that members of the association were finding it difficult to access their farms due to insecurity. Oluleye appealed to the Federal Government to support the association with bailout funds, subsidies and other financial assistance.
Speaking further, he urged the Federal Government to intervene in subsidising major inputs, particularly maize and soya, much more than they had been doing before. He said if that was done, it would ameliorate the negative impact of the naira redesign policy of the government on the farmers. “In order to save the poultry industry from total collapse, the federal and state governments, CBN and all other agencies of government concerned must rise up and intervene in this subsector of the economy. The intervention should come in the following areas; mopping up of about 15 to 20 million crates of eggs and chicken unsold in the economy right now to ameliorate the losses of the farmers.
“These products should be used in feeding the people in Internally-Displaced camps and our correctional centres all over the country. Some could also be used in government hospitals where meals are served, as eggs help in quick recovery and in building up the immunity of sick patients. Oluleye stated further that a lot of farmers were running on loan and as a result of this crisis, they could not meet their loan obligations any more. “We want the CBN and the Federal Government to help in defraying part of the loan and in some cases, outright cancellation of the loan. This will enable farmers recover and save the sector from collapsing.
“As an emergency measure, let the Federal Government constitute a committee that will begin the process of mopping up all unsold eggs and chicken meat, due to naira redesign policies as these eggs are already going bad. A situation where a single farmer has a hundred thousand crates of eggs unsold in the farm now, the value of which is over two hundred million. Mopping up these eggs and chicken meat now, will be a good measure in preventing the sector from imminent collapse”, he stated.