Poultry farmers under the aegis of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) are currently meeting in Abuja to celebrate this year World Egg Day with a renewed hope for a better industry. According to the association, production activities in the broiler meat industry has increased to 70% from the previous 45% capacity utilisation due to border closure. President of PAN, Ezekiel Ibrahim commended President Buhari for the bold step he took to close the border between Nigerian and the neighbouring countries particularly with Benin Republic.
The farmers’ excitement with the border closure was particularly evident as Benin Republic has been a transit point for the smuggling of over one million metric tons into the country for over a decade, which worsen their market woes. While thanking the president for bringing bank interest rate on agricultural loans to 9%, he however appealed for a further downward review to 5% to make agriculture more profitable in view of the current high cost of production. “Our most appreciation to Mr. President is the removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on all agricultural and food products. This has been a long lingering issue with the Federal Inland Revenue (FIRS)” Mr Ezekiel said. The association also called on the government to “instruct the Nigerian Custom Service to reverse the current practice of returning all agricultural equipment from zero duty to 5% arbitrarily. This is a disincentive to agriculture.” Secondly the farmers want the border closure to “be maintained until our neighbouring countries sign an undertaking not to allow their country become dumping ground for smuggling to Nigeria.”
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST