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General News of Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Source: The Guardian

Poultry farmers lose N1. 5 trllion to COVID-19 lockdown

As part of the fallout of Covid-19 lockdown the poultry industry may have lost a whopping N1.5trillion in about four months of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Mann, during a news conference Monday, in Abuja, explained that the losses came from hatcheries, as they were forced to bury their day-old chicks and eggs because they were not up-taken from the farms, while some other chicks died while on transit due to suffocation.

He added that feed millers had difficulties getting raw materials for their mill thereby causing them not to operate competitively, saying conservatively that the losses are over N1.5trillion.

He appealed that for the industry to fully recover, it is important that the government comes up with enabling policies that would encourage lending institutions to bring down interest rates to between 0-3 per cent as obtained in other parts of the world, to help them recuperate and recover faster.

Mann however commended the federal government for providing the 5000 metric tonnes (mt) of maize to them at a subsidized rate, which they distributed to smallholder farms across the 36 states, while large scale farmers were gracious enough to buy the grain from some of their members who were given waiver to import about 262,000mt of maize recently.

He also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to carry along PAN members in the 166 on-going poultry projects across the federation, for their benefit.

He also urged the government to increase the funding for agricultural research institutes, and appoint monitoring and evaluation committees to ensure that targets are set with deliverable, and would be able to propose alternatives to maize for the production of poultry feeds.

He equally advocated total ban on the importation of frozen poultry products, and to ensure that maximum sanctions and prosecutions are meted on the violators to deter others, while approving free duty charge for importation of poultry equipment and machines in place of the five per cent duty charge.

Mann also lamented the insecurity situation in the country, saying it has become overwhelming especially in the North, where grains are produced, and appealed to the government and all stakeholders to move fast to ensure farmers’ security.

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