Poultry farmers in Imo State have said that they are facing untold hardship owing to the high cost of raw materials and lack of access to cheap funding, among other challenges.
An official of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Imo State, Mrs. Ijeoma Okonkwo, disclosed this on Wednesday.
She said things were pretty rough for operators in the state because of the economic situation of the country, which had also led to a rise in the cost of feed and other raw materials for the industry.
She said feed, which sold for N2,500 before, was now selling for N4,500, adding that the situation was more challenging to the farmers because they had no access to loans at favourable interest rates.
Recession and the general hike in price of feed took heavy toll on the poultry industry in 2016, resulting in the increase in prices of chickens and eggs. An egg, which previously sold between N10 and N15, increased to N50.
According to the President of PAN, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, feed, which makes up 70 per cent of the cost of poultry production, has become expensive following the rise in the cost of maize and soya beans being used for the material.
He said, “The price of maize, which hitherto was N50,000 per metric tonne, has increased to N150,000. Also, soya beans, which sold for N100,000/MT in 2014, now sells for N150,000/MT.
“In addition to the cost of diesel for generators, prices of pre-mixes keep increasing with the increasing rate of the dollar. Many farmers have shut down because their profit margin has been wiped out and they cannot transfer the cost to the prices of eggs.”
For soya beans, Oduntan explained that the local demand was 1.2 million MT; whereas the country could only produce 700,000MT.
Meanwhile, poultry farmers in the North have also been battling the resurgence of the Avian Influenza, popularly known as bird flu, which has reportedly destroyed about 11,000 birds in Plateau State alone.
Media reports quoted the Chairman of PAN in Plateau State, Mr. John Dasar, as saying that farmers in the state were going through tough times because of the attack.
He said, “Farmers in Plateau State are really going through tough times because of the resurgence of bird flu in the last one week. In one week, six poultry farms were depopulated and no fewer than 11,000 birds were culled.”