Oyo poultry farmers under the aegis of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) have called on the Federal and State governments to advance farmers’ interests by relaxing the ban on maize importation.
The farmers made this demand during a press conference in Ibadan on Tuesday, stressing that if not attended to, the industry risks a loss of about N1 trillion, annually.
According to a press release read by PAN Chairman, Oyo state branch, Mr. Gbemisoye Agboola, the price of maize had skyrocketed, causing many poultry farmers to close shop.
As of March 2020, the price of maize was N80 per kilogramme but has now increased to N180 per kilogramme, Agboola noted.
This price increase and the resultant scarcity, has also affected the price of poultry feeds, he added.
The farmers decried other challenges besetting them including; increased taxation, insecurity, and unfavourable government policies.
“We do not need to emphasize the persisting perennial, seasonal and sporadic egg glut, perpetually increasing prices of inputs and multiple levies and taxation by government agents.
“Most recently, the untold ordeal escalated and nearly unbearable due to unfavorable government dispositions and regulations.
“As we speak, agencies and individuals in the name of local and state government agencies, are making daily trips to poultry farms to harass farmers for several illicit and other arrears of levies, taxes, etc.
“We know the government supports agriculture globally for obvious reasons, but not so, in Oyo state. COVID-19 has sent several farmers to an early grave and some poultry concerns already on the verge of collapse.
“Price of maize as of March 2020 was N80/kg, has crept to N180/kg today, and still increasing, also the price of poultry products too. As if that is not enough, we now have the ban on importation of maize.”
The Chairman further stated that in addition to the scarcity of maize, some charlatans have been hijacking the few ones made available.
Alluding to the publicised release of maize inputs to states across the federation, Agboola however noted that Oyo State was yet to receive any of the inputs.
“How do we sustain poultry feeding till the next planting season? Between March and July this year, many poultry farms have either downsized or folded up, due to their either not getting maize to produce feeds or cannot afford to buy finished feeds to feed their chickens.
“The seeming proactiveness of the Federal Government was the release of a few tonnage of maize to states.
“We read about the much-publicized release of trailers of maize to Lagos state poultry farmers, we are still expecting those meant to cushion our hardship in Oyo state.
“However, it must have gone the usual route to office poultry farmers,” the Chairman said.
He, therefore, urged the government to ease the ban placed on maize importation, stating that the local producers will also contribute their quota towards meeting the maize demand.
“Therefore, Mr. President and our own dear Governor, we appeal to you to please use your good offices to prevail on masquerading principalities, powers and authorities antagonizing the importation of maize, as a way of subduing our industry, thereby subjecting poultry farmers to unwarranted hardship and suffering,” PAN demanded.