Governments at all levels have been called upon to increase public awareness on the inherent health implication in the consumption of smuggled poultry products by the citizens.
Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) made the call at the World Poultry Summit, in Lagos, and suggested that such awareness can begin with the government making it mandatory that home grown poultry products and chicken supplied by the association be served at public function.
He said challenges such as smuggling, high cost of feed, multiple taxation, high foreign exchange rate, and cost of production, among others are presently threatening the growth of the subsector.
Advancing possible gains of solutions to overcome the challenges, he said this would create great opportunities for its growth, stressing that despite the multiple challenges the industry has endured with the hope for a better tomorrow.
While speaking on the theme of the summit tagged; “Policy, Science and Commerce to Optimise the Poultry Industry’, he urged Nigerian researchers to carry out findings on how to address some of the challenges confronting the industry.
He stated with about 70 per cent of operating capital expended on feeds, local poultry of farmers are finding it difficult to sustain their businesses and survive.
Oduntan, who also stated that the high cost of feeds was a fallout of the hike in prices of soya beans and maize, informed that a metric tonne of maize had jumped from N27,000 to N140,000 this year.
He said this has put farmers’ margins under pressure thereby encouraging soya beans and maize farmers to increase their level of production, so as to meet local demand.
According to him, “We have opportunity of planting maize twice a year in this country, so I want to encourage them and soya producers to increase production from present two to about 10 tonnes. We need to encourage more foreign investments,” he said.
Speaking further he said farmers whose farmlands were destroyed by Avian Influenza are yet to be compensated as many have gone out of business because of this.
He also lamented the low sales of eggs and chickens which have led to losses for farmers, thereby urging the industry to imbibe new technology to reduce production costs and increase profitability.
Meanwhile,Professor Adeyinka Odunsi, National President of World’s Poultry Science Association, (WPSA),said PAN is now working with universities across the country on how best to leverage the various research outcomes in the universities so that they will not just stay on the shelves.
He added that studies are ongoing to find alternative feeding ingredient and how local chicken can be optimised to be as productive as imported ones.
“There are some Fulani types of chicken that are resistant to diseases; we are looking at how we can optimise it to produce at par with foreign chicken.
He said government has a role to play in the formulation good policies, especially, in terms of interest rate.