Nigerian poultry industry has come under tremendous pressure over the last 15months as farmers suffered severe losses owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and escalating grain prices.
The situation took a heavy toll on farmers as many shut down their poultry farms while others slaughtered malnourished chickens to deal with the surging cost of production owing to high maize price – a key input accounting for most of poultry feed cost.
Africa’s most populous country has seen its maize output decline in recent years owing to the devastating impact of climate change, intensifying insecurity across the country and the supply chain obstruction caused by the pandemic.
The country is currently churning out about 10.5 million metric tons per annum against a demand of 15 million metric tons, leaving a supply-demand gap of 4.5 million tons per annum, according to data from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its 2020 grain report put Nigeria’s midyear 2020/21 maize production at 9 million tons, a 13 percent decline when compared to 11.5 million tons forecasted last year.
The shortfall in supply in 2019 and 2020 forced prices of maize to reach an all-time high of N250,000 per ton, posing a major threat to the poultry industry, food and beverage industries, and Nigeria’s food security.
“The rising cost of maize is threatening the livelihood of many poultry farmers and players in the feed value chain – thus plunging the economy into a deeper crisis,” said Alfred Mrakpor, chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) – delta state chapter.
Mrakpor stated that the high prices of maize have instilled fear among livestock feed producers in the country.
Many Nigerians are now unable to purchase eggs and chicken as prices of both products have soared by over 50 percent as farmers transfer rising costs to consumers, thus, putting animal protein consumption at risk.
In an attempt to relieve the pain suffered by Nigerians with the maize crisis in the country, the CBN has commenced the disbursement of 300,000 metric tons of maize through its strategic anchors facilitated by the CBN-financed Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) and other drivers in the supply chain.
With the first of such release, the recent 50,000MT of maize by the CBN and its partners, prices of the maize grain have begun to decline.
BusinessDay survey at major grain markets in Lagos shows that a metric ton that was sold N250,000 in January now sells for N180,000 per metric ton.
Dr. Agboola Belgore, general manager –administration and corporate affairs, Amobyng Nigeria Limited commended the CBN for the release of 50,000MT of maize to major feed millers while urging the apex bank to sustain the intervention and ensure price sustainability of the crop.
“The price level in my opinion should not be above N130,000 per ton unlike the current price of N180,000 per ton obtainable despite the good intention of the intervention,” Belgore said.
“With the news of the CBN intervention, prices of maize stopped climbing and by the time of the actual release of the 50,000MT price crashed to around N180,000 per ton providing a welcome relief to feed millers, and by extension poultry farmers,” he further said.
He believed that another round of release from the 300,000MT will further crash the prices of the grain.
Similarly, Opeyemi Agbato, executive director, Animal Care said the release of the maize to key feed millers under the CBN’s Strategic Maize Reserve programme is a much-needed intervention in the industry.
“We hope that the price of subsequent maize release, if at all, would be further reduced to as low as N135-145/ MT or about 30-35 percent lower than prevailing prices landed to the consumers to force the drop in prices of maize and cost of producing livestock feeds and food,” he said.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY