Poultry farms across Nigeria are grappling with an unprecedented crisis as operational challenges push some to shut down, while others are forced to significantly downsize. The root cause of this lingering crisis lies in the relentless surge in production costs, driven by factors such as heightened feed expenses, escalating ingredient and raw material prices, all exacerbated by the fluctuating foreign exchange rates.
In Ibadan, Oyo State, Survival Poultry Farms’ Chief Operating Officer (CEO), Mr. Oluwatobiloba Oduntan, underscored the severity of the situation, emphasising the reliance on imported poultry feeds due to the inability of local producers to meet national demands. He stated that “It is what you give to the bird that you get out of them, so if the cost of production is high, the selling price will also be high. That is why many consumers can no longer afford ‘white meat’ (chicken) again and if we are producing at a high cost and we are not selling – that is a huge loss for us. Hence, why many of us are completely shutting down or reducing our productivity”.
He added, “between 2018 and 2023, the poultry industry witnessed an alarming 300% cost increase, amplifying the distress as purchasing power dwindled”. Oduntan revealed the painful decision taken by reducing their farm capacity by 40%, saying it was a desperate move shared by many, leading some to close operations entirely. As the Muslim fasting period draws nearer, the recent surge in prices, particularly in states like Kano, had triggered widespread concern. A single egg now sells for N130, while a crate is priced between N3,000 and N3,500. This inflationary trend is not limited to Kano, but is spreading across the nation, fueling anxiety among citizens, as poultry products become increasingly inaccessible, he said.
A poultry farmer, Alhaji Isa Abba, recently voiced the collective agony suffered by his co-farmers, stating that he could no longer sustain his business due to unbearable production costs. Many farmers, he noted, had abandoned their farms, signaling a crisis within the industry. The Kano State Chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr. Usman Gwarzo, attributed the scarcity and price hikes to various factors, including the skyrocketing costs of raw materials, transportation, and insecurity affecting farmers’ access to their farms. The price surge in maize and soya mill and locally-sourced raw materials, paints a dire picture of the industry’s challenges.
Dr. Gwarzo declared, “About 85% of our members have closed down their farms in the last six months, which is a bad omen”. Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics’ Food Price Index for December 2023 further substantiated the grim reality, revealing an 81.71% year-on-year increase in the cost of chicken feed and a 52.09% surge in medium agric eggs. In 2023, poultry farmers in Kano State had lamented rising prices of chicks and poultry feeds, pushing many out of business. The prevailing issue of low egg supply amid growing demands paints a grave situation, underlining an urgent need for intervention in form of emergency aids, in a bid to salvage a crumbling, but critical industry from collapse.