Poultry and fish farming have grown in Nigeria, helping to increase food supply and to generate employment for the teeming youth population. However, harsh economic conditions have kept the cost of business high with corresponding low profit margins.
Maize for instance is demanded in other industries aside the poultry industry. These industries include Corn Mills, Breweries, and Confectioneries such as biscuit factories, cornflakes factories and glucose factories. Domestic use of maize is also enormous and contribute to the demand of maize in Nigeria. Despite the high demand for maize, yet about 100, 000 tons of the Nigerian maize outputs are still illegally exported to the Niger and Chad Republic because of the quality of the starch from where glucose syrups are made.
There was scarcity of fertilizer last season manifesting into low maize production whereas poultry production had grown steadily from a population of about 150 million some few years back to a high population of 200 million birds today signifying a higher demand in maize as the critical source of energy in poultry production.
The national output of maize had fluctuated between 7.7-10MT in Nigeria and the demand for poultry in the region of 2.8million to 3 million tons, making our industry demand to about 30% of National maize output, of which we use maize at about 60% of our feed formulations.
It is obvious from our view point in Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa that there is a gross decline in domestic production of maize presently in Nigeria due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic and insecurity in the country.
The decision to ban a short gap importation of domestic deficit in maize at this critical period should not be encouraged as domestic production cannot meet up with our local demand of this product
According to a market survey, 25kg bag of poultry feed called “Starter” was sold at ₦4000 before now is now sold for ₦5100. Also feed meant for older broiler birds, called “finisher” now goes for ₦4500 from the previous price of ₦3700. A 15kg bag of Nigerian made fish feed that was sold for ₦7500 of 2mm before the announcement of the policy is now sold for ₦8100.
COVID-19 IMMUNITY FACTOR AND MAIZE SUPPLY TO THE POULTRY INDUSTRY
Today Covid-19 is ravaging the whole world of which Nigeria is not an exemption. It is also known worldwide that there is no medication for the dreadful virus. One of the way into healthy living and prevention of the COVID-19 is by boosting public Immunity.
Nature had ordained that chicken offer to man this required immunity against many novel or known diseases through the production of IgY immunoglobulin similar to man’s IMMUNOGLOBULIN called IgG.
While the one for man flows like soldiers against infectious diseases in human blood system, chicken are more proactive in preventing her generation susceptibility to epidemics by storing their own immunoglobulin (IgY) in the yolk of the egg for the benefit of the yet to hatch hatchlings, thereby protecting them for future hazards.
This kind of Immunity is called Passive Immunity as against active immunity obtained through vaccination. The chicken’s passive immunity stored in the yolk of all eggs are endowed by nature to the benefit of the human health when eggs are eaten especially by the vulnerables.
In the light of the above, LIFA believes that knowledge about chicken from the passive immunity, has a good public health significance to the general public. Every socially responsible government in Africa where poverty and vulnerabilities to diseases are high should take advantage of using eggs as dietary palliatives to mitigate the effect of Covid-19 in their regions.
It is therefore requested that the industry should be allowed to thrive by making the most important input available at this critical period of Covid-19 so as to be able to produce abundant eggs needed by food palliative agent for effective distribution to the vulnerables.
It is in the light of the above that we in LIFA plead advocacy for a waiver by CBN to allow for a monitored importation of maize by the industry to feed poultry population of birds that will produce our desired output of 26 billion eggs and 300,000 tons of broiler meat for domestic consumption and for the effective mitigation of COVID-19 for the Nigerian population.
LIFA is with the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) at this bearish moment of her business.
Dr Stephen Adejoro
Founder; Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa