Nigeria’s poultry farmers call for government support

Automation of shell egg collection is among the growing trends highlighted in a new report about the future of Nigeria’s poultry industry.

Automation of shell egg collection is among the growing trends highlighted in a new report about the future of Nigeria’s poultry industry.

Authored by the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) and released at the 2015 Nigeria Poultry Show held in Abeokuta recently, the report outlines the prospects for the sector over the next decade, reports Daily Trust. As well as outlining positive developments, PAN expressed fears over what it termed “growing depletions” in the layer industry, adding that biosecurity is likely to play a crucial role in its survival.

Entitled ‘Nigerian Poultry: Future Scenario 2013-2023’, the report states that the previous projections, covering the period 2000 to 2010, were achieved despite a sharp fall in production during what it calls “the bird flu years”. Describing the recovery between 2009 and 2010 as “phenomenal”, the report says there was a 10 percent reduction in 2012, followed by a period of steady growth in broiler parent and layer parent placements.

PAN commented on the increasing size of layer flocks. With a minimum now of 10,000 birds, many units are expanding from 100,000 to 500,000 layers. Production per bird is also rising, with some farms achieving more than 310 eggs per hen housed over the production cycle.

Over the next 3 to 4 years, more farms are expected to opt for feeding crumbles as chick starters and broiler feeds to give the birds a better start in life.

One significant trend forecast by PAN is greater automation in feeding and egg collection as a means of reducing contamination. Manure disposal and fly control need more attention, according to PAN, but these will be addressed as the industry moves towards more closed housing with environmental control.

Turning to egg quality issues, PAN says that egg grading may become more popular as a way of ending discounting of smaller eggs. Higher egg numbers and fewer breakages could be addressed through choice of breed and refined feed formulation. According to the report, “designer eggs” - enriched with vitamin E, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids – are being produced and marketed, while washing and packing of eggs are not yet widespread in Nigeria.

With a human population forecast to exceed 200 million by 2020, Nigeria has a rapidly growing demand for low-priced food, which could be eased by the chicken meat sector through greater integration, higher performance and better marketing of live birds and branded chicken products.

With the right environment and support by government (including a ban on imports), PAN promised to create five million jobs and unlock a NGN1 trillion (US$5 billion) industry over the forecast period. 

At the Nigeria Poultry Show, PAN’s national president, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, explained that the theme for this year’s event – ‘Poultry Value Chain- Unlocking One Trillion Naira Industry and Five Million Jobs’ – was chosen to show the determination and commitment of the body to help solve the nation’s economic problems.

Daily Trust reported that Nigeria’s farmers set out their priorities to the new Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh. Top of that list are help to access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizer and agrochemicals, the provision of microcredit and access to extension services to advise them on modern farming techniques.

“The greatest needs of the Nigerian farmer is seed; high quality crop seeds and seedlings, day-old-chicks, fingerlings and animal breeds, followed by access to credit, extension services, marketing, processing and storage, among others,” said a large-scale poultry and fish farmer in Katsina State, Architect Kabir Ibrahim, who is the President of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN). “The government should address these issues adequately to help the farmers.”

Farmers also called for improved market conditions and guaranteed minimum prices for their produce.

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