In response to the lifting of the forex ban on the importation of poultry products and 42 other items, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has cautioned against reopening the Nigerian border for the importation of poultry products.
Addressing the second summit of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) virtually in Abuja, Obasanjo emphasized the importance of government support for the domestic poultry industry.
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He urged authorities to refrain from allowing the influx of foreign poultry products, emphasizing the need to protect and promote the local industry.
Obasanjo said: “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 door step.
“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 emphasized the critical importance of the government and the private sector’s attention to the poultry industry, citing its role in providing job opportunities and ensuring food and nutrition security.
Dr. Sabi Abdullahi, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, provided insights into the current state of poultry consumption in Nigeria.
He mentioned that per capita poultry consumption is 1.75 kg, significantly below the Africa average of 6.2 kg. The annual consumption of poultry meat in Nigeria is approximately 1,500,000 MT, with production output covering only about 55% of the consumption, leaving a deficit of 45% or around 675,000 MT.
Expressing concern, the Minister highlighted that the deficit is met through smuggling, leading to the influx of unwholesome poultry products with adverse effects on citizens, the industry, and the economy.
To address this, the government is considering measures such as import duty waivers, VAT exemptions on feed-grade maize and soya-bean importation, and other supportive actions.
Dr. Abdullahi also urged research institutes to focus on developing maize varieties specifically for livestock feed to alleviate pressure on the maize used for human consumption. The President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Chief Sunday Ezeobiora, echoed the challenges faced by the sector, including difficulties in accessing finance from banks and urged the government to halt the exportation of soya beans and maize to prevent potential industry collapse.