Experts on Nigeria’s poultry industry continue to decry the untapped huge potentials inherent in Nigeria’s poultry industry by the farmers and investors. According to both Messrs. Gbolade Adewole, the coordinator of natnuPreneur Broiler Outgrower Scheme and Dr Abubakar Amuda-Kannike, a former member representing Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency in the green chamber, a huge gap exists between what can be gained from maximizing the opportunities and what is actually on ground.
In precise terms, Adewole insists that the industry is worth over N1.2 trillion(Naira) since Nigerians consume 1,071,428,000 chicken every blessed year! If we locally produce a total of 1.5 million tons of chicken, the feed mills will supply about N700bn of feed, the hatchery N145bn worth of day-old chicken and the animal pharmaceutical companies would produce drugs and vaccines in the neighbourhood of between N45bn to N55bn. The sums come to a figure of N900bn but 70 % of that money is not allowed to be made because of imported chicken. If only 30 % of the potential is what we produce it means that Nigeria loses about N600bn annually due to avoidable importation of what we are capable of producing locally.
But we cannot continue on this path of creating jobs for foreign industries at our own expense. One has severally decried the missed opportunities of a country that produces crude oil, raw cocoa, oil palm, cashew, coffee, rubber but exhibits an inexcusable lust for the massive importation of the finished products. By this we lose the economic and social benefits from the value chain.
To reverse this drift, full focus should shift to increased profitability of the poultry farmers. In the light of this, it is interesting to note that the Amo Group has identified lapses that should be taken care of. These include having a ready market for the local products, making high inputs available and ensuring that the feeds are also of high standard to make them competitive.
All these came to the fore after Amo Group had an extensive outreach to poultry farmers, designing the right models, experimenting, training the extension officers and optimization of the projects at hand. Furthermore, they write post-evaluation report to assess and engage in feedback mechanisms to know how far the farmers have gained from their processes.
Even as we commend their efforts, we recommend such to the federal and state ministry of agriculture. Indeed, one is of the view that should there be effective political restructuring the states and local councils which are closer to the people could partner with the private sector to galvanize mass production, processing and marketing of our local products, all to international standard.
It would be recalled that in 2015, Amuda-Kannike called for a constructive approach towards addressing challenges facing the poultry industry to save jobs and promote economic growth.
As he rightly noted, “the poultry industry is the largest segment of the agricultural sector, contributing more to the nation’s gross domestic product and providing employment for many Nigerians throughout its value chain and related industries”.
While addressing the National Poultry Show in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Amuda-Kannike said “the industry supports many businesses and provides a strong platform for rural development, as well as the government’s zero-hunger goals, as it is the main supplier of a protein diet. He also noted that “the inability of the industry to meet growing national demand, reflected the need for more investment to improve efficiencies and competitively. Poultry farmers in other parts of the world produce 310 to 320 per chicken per year but here we are at an average of 210 per chicken per year hence we are training our farmers to bridge that gap.
In a similar vein, Dr Ayola Oduntan, the President, Poultry Association of Nigeria while speaking with the press some three years ago identified funding, the cost of raw materials, like maize, soya bean and groundnut used for poultry feeds as some of the challenges facing the industry. All these raw materials used for chicken feed production account for 70 percent cost of poultry farming and it is between 50 to 100 percent higher in Nigeria than in many countries of the world.
The good news is that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the disbursement of about N75billion as loan to farmers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The loan guarantee scheme is a public-private sector initiative set up to transform the country’s agricultural sector. It was initiated by the apex bank, the Bankers’ Committee and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to guarantee 75 per cent loans provided by Deposit Money Banks (DPB) to farmers as part of efforts to transform the country’s agricultural sector.
The Head of NIRSAL Project Implementation Office under the Development Finance Department of the CBN, Jude Uzonwanne, assured that:“NIRSAL would mobilize financing for Nigerian agribusiness by using credit guarantees to address the risk of default,” “NIRSAL is a flexible financing tool designed to change the behaviour of financial institutions.
“It covers all crops and livestock activities in Nigeria, while driving improved investment outcomes and job creation. It is also building on a legacy of previous CBN interventions in agriculture that has helped create thousands of jobs.”
Mr. Uzonwanne said the programme was designed to create access to finance to farmers by integrating end-to-end agriculture value chains, such as input producers, farmers, agro dealers, agro processors and industrial manufacturers with agricultural financing value chains – loan product development, credit distribution, loan origination, managing and pricing for risk, and loan disbursement.
One’s piece of candid advice is that the process should be made transparent, not politicized in this period of electioneering campaigns and should be based on credible data compiled with the input of the different farmers’ associations.
As it is being gradually unveiled, Nigeria has the capacity to grow and feed her citizens with local agricultural products. But first, there should be a paradigm shift of the mindset of the citizens to patronize what we produce locally while synergies between the public and private sectors have to be sustained.