Poultry is one of the 3 value chains the project focuses on. We headed down to one of the biggest poultry farms in Lagos. An employee of the farm estimated that they produce about 8000 crates of egg a day and still the supply does not meet the demand. It sounds a bit contradictory because I hear a lot of farmers talking about glut in the market. But then again my research on poultry made me realise that there is a serious lack of reliable data on poultry in Nigeria. Nevertheless I will share some of what I found.
Setting up a poultry farm is very capital-intensive and expensive and carries quite a number of risks. However it can be very profitable. Family poultry represents approximately 94% of the total poultry keeping and accounts for nearly 4% of the total estimated value of livestock resources in the country. The reason for the prevalence of family poultry is because the conditions for commercial poultry has not yet been met. Conditions such as (i) ability to purchase most inputs such as improved birds, seeds, vaccines, drugs and equipments, (ii) availability of highly skilled manpower, (iii) presence of strict disease control and (iv) existence of national domestic market able to absorb poultry products at attractive prices by consumers with good purchasing power.
When compared to other livestock, poultry has by far, the quickest and highest rate of turnover. Surveys in this country indicate that consumption of poultry meat is gradually outstripping most other kind of meat except beef. It is therefore not surprising that funds invested in poultry production are recouped faster than in any other livestock enterprise.
The government of Nigeria prohibited the importation of Live or Dead Birds including Frozen Poultry. Although this has some benefits, it has also led to smuggling of the products into the country. In spite of the ban, poultry farms are still closing down due to challenges such as increase in interest rates on agriculture loans and high cost of raw materials such as maize and soya, causing low productivity and profit.
The farm produces their own feed
Some of the recommended solutions are: government should ensure that poultry farmers have access to single digit interest loans, intensify its efforts to reduce the cost of maize, soya and other feed raw materials which constitute 70 per cent of cost of production, to remove duty on all agricultural inputs imported from abroad that are not being manufactured in Nigeria.
Agriculturist and nutritionist generally agreed that developing the poultry industry in Nigeria is the fastest means of bridging the protein deficiency gap presently prevailing in the country (FAO). For the industry to develop, the government must work closely with all key stakeholders. The next gen African farmers must be able to take a lead role in drafting recommendations for a way forward and also play fundamental roles in its execution.
Thank you for taking time out to read this post.