Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has called on the Federal Government to direct both the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which manages the Strategic Maize Reserve Programme (SMRP) of the CBN, to free the allocations of 40,000 metric tons of maize to the poultry industry through the association so as to salvage the industry from imminent collapse. PAN, in a statement jointly signed by its National President and Director-General, Sunday Ezeobiora, and Dr. Onallo Akpa, respectively, blamed high prices of maize and the near absence or scarcity of the product, as being responsible for the imminent collapse of the poultry industry.
“The high surges of prices of maize and the near absence or scarcity of the product is causing farmers to close down their poultry farms at the moment because it is no longer sustainable to feed the birds and be in business, thereby, threatening the further development of the Nigerian poultry industry. It will interest Nigerians to know that as part of the measures to ensure the food security of the nation through the supply of cheap protein to Nigerians, the poultry industry in the country has benefited from allocation of maize from the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) of the Federal Government as well as the Strategic Maize Reserve (SMR) Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), anchored on the Accelerated Agriculture Programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“In the current dispensation and scheme of things, the poultry industry is being frustrated by the Nigeria Commodity Exchange (NCX) and the Strategic Maize Reserve (SMR) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), whence it was allocated 40,000 metric tonnes of maize to assist poultry production in the country and in two weeks, they cancelled the allocation and stopped poultry farmers from lifting the maize on the conditions best known to them and thereby majorly contributing to the high prices of maize in the markets because of holding down their stocks of maize”. Other demands, according to the statement, include “That the government should direct the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to release 20,000 metric tons of maize from the Strategic Food Reserves of the Ministry to the poultry industry, through the association at discounted prices so as to mitigate the current challenges to the poultry industry in the country.
Ezeobiora, while commenting on the state of emergency on food production, as declared by President Bola Tinubu, stated that it is good that the present administration, by that act, is showing its intention to pay attention to the primary responsibility of food security and that, it is indeed a security situation because food scarcity or unavailability has been used as a weapon in war. The present situation, where millions of Nigerians cannot afford basic food, is indeed worrisome and the government must prioritise the food sector. “We will hope that the commodity associations, responsible for food production, are partnered with in the proposed deployment of savings from fuel subsidy to revamp the agricultural sector.
“The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) is the most organised commodity association and the poultry industry is the most capitalised value chain. We will look forward to engaging the government on short, to long term solutions to food security in the country. Presently, we have a situation where government agencies are frustrating the objectives of commodity boards. Recently, we have had allocations of maize from the CBN and NCX cancelled, which has doubled the price of maize in the industry and further worsened food inflation in the country. Allocations from these agencies are at agreed discounted rates and are meant to help regulate price of the commodity in market. With that act of cancellation, the price of maize in Nigeria has skyrocketed beyond the price in international market. Who then will want to do business with us? Poultry farmers will welcome any efforts targeted at ensuring food availability and stability in the economy”, he added.