Usually, people think dairy, vegetables (such as tomato), greenhouse, and agric technologies in general are all the Netherlands can offer Nigeria; in skills, knowledge, and technology transfer. However, there is more Nigeria can benefit, and poultry is one of such. Nigeria’s poultry industry has a lot it can learn from the Netherlands, and doing this becomes important in the quest to achieve food security, and challenges of the local poultry industry.
On a visit to the poultry expertise centre, located in Barneveld during a tour of what is called the Food Valley in the Netherlands, personnel conducting the facility tour stated that from different parts of the world, thousands of trainees come to the centre every year. People come individually, or as representatives of companies or governments.
Making the decision to learn best practices in poultry production from the Netherlands becomes ‘more of a good idea’, when the numbers are considered. The Dutch Poultry Sector accounts for an annual turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, producing 11 billion eggs, and one million tonnes of chicken meat every year.
Output from the Netherlands resonates further when the country’s 41.543 km² is considered. Within this relatively small landmass that also produces a lot of food items, the Dutch Poultry Centre also notes that there are 2000 farms active in the poultry sector; 900 laying hens farms; 650 broiler farms; 200 hatching egg farms and; 250 other related farms.
Nigeria on the other hand, is battling insufficient local poultry supply, with the Agriculture Promotion Policy showing a 60 million birds deficit that is filled by illegal imports (i.e smuggling), that enter the market at lower price point than domestic producers. There is a need to boost local poultry production, and equally important, significantly lowering production costs while delivering poultry products of international standards.
The Poultry Expertise Centre is a partnership of companies, government and knowledge institutes that work in or are involved in the poultry sector. Within the Centre, expertise from education, research and the business community is combined and used to train entrepreneurs and employees working in the poultry sector (national and international), as well as in further training and retraining.
The retention of knowledge advantage is described as an important objective of PEC, and it is said that is why a ‘Healthy Poultry Farming’ research group has also been set up. Within this, sustainable poultry concepts are developed where the sector must remain healthy and meaningful.
Much attention is paid to developments such as sustainability. The central question is constantly how the welfare of the animals can be further increased and the developments regarding food security are closely monitored.
Interactions with some of the personnel at PEC, indicated custom training can be offered for participants from different countries; depending on their knowledge needs and required competencies. This centre along with poultry technology companies and scores of model farms in the Netherlands, will offer resources, technology, and knowledge for Nigerian poultry producers interested in ramping up their production.