By Adedotun Ajayi
The Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria (FIPAN), has raised alarm over the ongoing scarcity and hike in prices of livestock grains in the country.
Consequently, the group warned Nigerians to brace up for continued increments in the prices of livestock animals in the country till festive period.
FIPAN disclosed that there would be a potential increase in unemployment if the industry were to collapse, as it currently contributes approximately 45 per cent of the nation’s labour force.
Specifically, FIPAN asserted that it is time the government opened up the country’s borders to allow importation of grains, especially maize and soya bean, and that if not, the prices of livestock animals would continue to skyrocket, with common man not being able to buy them for consumption.
The president of FIPAN, Raymond Isidinaso, who made this known in an interview, stated that livestock feed millers are at cross roads over the bloated prices of livestock feed which is pushing many of its members out of business amidst unprecedented repercussions.
Amidst this, Isidinaso explained that the multiplier effects of the livestock feed has put the future of the poultry industry in Nigeria in an uncertain situation.
He, however, warned that many poultry firms may soon close shops unless the federal government intervenes in the hardships its members are facing currently and allow importation of grains into the country to salvage the precarious poultry sector.
According to him, the soaring prices of eggs, chicken, fish, and other poultry products are largely attributed to the scarcity of maize and soya bean, adding that these two ingredients are essential in the production of poultry feed, and their shortage has resulted in increased costs.
The FIPAN president emphasised that there would soon be a scarcity of eggs, chicken, and other livestock due to the unavailability and rising cost of maize and soya beans, which are crucial for livestock feed production.
In order to correct the malaise, he called on the government for immediate intervention by releasing grains from the nation’s reserve in order to alleviate the challenges faced by the industry.
Findings have shown that the cost of ingredients for the composition of poultry feeds, particularly maize, has increased by over 100 percent.
According to the outlook, the price of maize hit N65, 000 per metric tonne in January 2016, up from around N45, 000 in October 2015 and has been on steady rise since then.
Currently, the average price of maize in the country has surged by 110.9 percent to N480,000 per tonne in August from N227,500 per tonne in June, the highest monthly surge on record, according to the Poultry Association of Nigeria.
While at the international market, a metric tonne of maize sells for $216.82 (N194,400), using the current black market exchange rate, according to data from the International Grain Council. This shows that local maize prices are N285,600 higher than the current international price.
“In the last five weeks prices of maize jumped by over 100 percent and this is hurting the industry badly,” said Onallo Akpa, director general of the Poultry Association of Nigeria.
“I have been operating in the industry for over three decades and it hasn’t been this bad. The industry is plummeting daily and this will definitely shrink its output and contribution to GDP in 2023,” Akpa said.
Feed constitutes 70 percent of the cost of production for poultry farmers and any hike in the prices of maize and soyabean will push up farmers’ production costs.
The country’s livestock subsector, which is dominated by poultry, contracted by 30.57 percent in the first quarter of 2023 from 5.55 percent in the corresponding quarter in 2022.
Olumuyiwa Adams, who has been a poultry farmer for many years, said he could no longer afford to feed his layers and broilers in his farm regularly as feed prices doubled.
According to him; “A lot of people would say the increase is not that much, but when it comes to people who operate a big farm, like 5,000-10,000 birds, those are the people who really feel the effects, it hasn’t been easy in any way, and the Poultry industry in Nigeria is the most critical subsector of Nigerian agriculture, and allowing the industry to collapse on the watch of Nigerians in situations where there are visible immediate solutions will be a disaster to the industry and the protein supply and nutrition security for the country” he said
Another poultry farmer, Mr Olusanya Aina blamed the continuous increase in the price of feeds on the high cost of raw materials used for its production.
He appealed to government at all levels to support farmers with soft loans and grants to enable them grow their businesses.
According to Olusanya, patronage of old layers are low and not encouraging because market women can’t afford to buy them at this recent price.
“As I speak with you, I still have a lot of unsold old layers in my farm, which is unlike what I used to experience during this season, that school children resumption is around the corner” the poultry farmer said.
On the contrary, Joseph Ogundele, said it is not a new phenomenon. The price of maize goes up towards the end of the maize cycle prior to the beginning of another cycle which brings the price back down.
According to him; “it’s just a matter of time, farmers shouldn’t rush to close down their farms, better season is fast approaching” he said
Another poultry owner, Omoniyi Onifade, said “When you frustrate a man serially and when a man does not have anything he’s living for, then we should expect the unimaginable to be done by such a man and poultry farmers are getting to that level gradually because they are already frustrated. I know a good number of poultry farmers who had to shut down operation because they can’t maximize profit anymore, we appeal to the government as a matter of urgency to please do something about this situation before it gets out of hand” he appealed