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April 14, 2024

Obasanjo Cautions FG Against Opening Border to Import of Poultry Products

The former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has warned the Federal Government against opening the Nigerian border for importation of poultry products into Nigeria.

He gave the charge while speaking virtually at the second summit of the association on Saturday in Abuja, following the removal of forex ban on the importation of poultry products and 42 other items. 

Obasanjo who is the grand patron of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) harped on the need for the government to support the industry and not open the market for others to dump their poultry products in the country.

In his words:  “When you talk of poverty eradication, wealth creation or employment generation, poultry is one of the best that you can go into either at Small, Medium or large resources level, moreso, the market is at the doorstep.

“When the poultry industry is thriving, it will trickle down the value chain including maize and soybean farmers and pharmaceutical companies producing drugs for the birds will also benefit.”

The former Head of State stressed the need for the government and private sector to pay attention to the poultry industry given its importance to provide job opportunities, food and nutrition security.

On his part, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Sabi Abdullahi, in his remarks, revealed that the per capita poultry consumption is 1.75 kg which falls below the 6.2 kg Africa average. 

He added that the annual consumption of poultry meat in Nigeria is put at 1,500,000 MT and production output is just about 55 per cent of consumption, estimated at 826,902.42 MT, which according to him, has left a huge deficit of 45 per cent, which is about 675,000 MT.

He lamented that the deficit was unfortunately met through smuggling of poultry and poultry products which most of the times, are unwholesome, with its attendant negative effects on the citizen, industry and the economy.

To save the poultry industry from imminent collapse, he revealed that the government was putting in place measures to meet up with requests Poultry farmers including the possibility of import duty waiver, VAT exemption on the importation of feed grade maize and soya-bean as well as on the issue of the recent lifting of the forex restriction on importation of poultry and poultry products.

He however tasked the Research Institute to focus efforts on coming up with maize varieties for livestock feed only to reduce the demand pressure on the ordinary maize used for food and other purposes by humans.

The President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, while highlighting the challenges bedeviling the sector, regretted that Nigeria banks are not willing to provide the with finance saying they are waiting for the take off of the Nigeria Agricultural Development Fund, with the hope that when the fund take-off it will not toe the line of the Anchor borrowers Scheme and the interest rate will not go beyond four per cent.

The association also called on the government to immediately halt exportation of Soya beans and maize, hinting that some exporters are at the verge of exporting the available grains. He appealed to the government to urgently attend to their request so that the industry does not collapse.

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