Growing health concerns in Nigeria about smuggled imported poultry have led to a 20 percent increase in local bird production in 2013, according to reports, boosting farmers' earnings and creating more jobs in the local industry.
The poultry are now sold by large emerging superstores spread across urban centers. They are sold raw or smoked and are supplied directly or through distributors, by big agro companies such as Chi Limited, which have large farms and complimentary processing units. The ready-to-cook chicken stock are supplied in modern packaging and are well preserved through continuous freezing, which supermarkets have the capacity to provide. These processes are driving up sales in spite of higher prices.
A smuggled imported frozen whole chicken is sold for between N700 (US$4.42) and N1,200 (US$7.57) depending on size, while the locally produced frozen chicken goes for as high N1,650 (US$10.41) or more in the supermarkets.
The increased demand for wholesome poultry stock by the middle class has been spurring business expansion among existing poultry producers and stimulating new investments. Though there have been crises in the industry due to security challenges in the north of Nigeria, which led to lower demand for eggs from that area, the growing middle class, their changing tastes and health concerns have spurred demand in the southern parts. Chickens and eggs are even being branded by producers as an assurance of quality.
Dotun Agbojo, president of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, said from the beginning of 2013 to date, Customs has seized over N500 million (US$3.16 million) worth of poultry products from smugglers. Agbojo said Customs should further intensify its efforts and drew attention to the health hazards of smuggled poultry.