Millions of naira worth of locally produced poultry is lying in waste in cold rooms for lack of buyers, the Poultry Association of Nigeria has said. This, they said, had put a damper on the morale of those who responded to the Federal Government’s call and invested huge resources and time in the poultry industry.
The trend, according to the poultry farmers, stems from the influx of smuggled poultry and the low purchasing power of an average Nigerian who cannot afford more expensive but quality local chicken.
According to stakeholders in the livestock sector, Nigeria loses over N1tn annually to smuggled frozen foods such as chicken, turkey, fish and gizzards.
They blamed the huge loss on the Federal Government’s poor implementation of the ban on importation of frozen products and ignorance of consumers patronising the banned products.
The stakeholders said that losing such a huge amount to smuggled products was a bad omen for a country that had launched a campaign to diversify its economy.
For instance, the Data Analyst and Farmer Satisfaction Representative, Amo Group of Companies, Mr. Alaba Yunusa, said that 70 per cent of the chicken consumed in Nigeria was imported.
He pointed out that there was a huge market for chicken production and supply in the country with smuggled chicken taking a huge deficit of 70 per cent while only 30 per cent was locally produced.
Although the Nigeria Customs Service has destroyed billions of naira worth of poultry in the past nine months, the products still find their way into Nigerian markets through the nation’s porous borders.
He noted that it was challenging for men of the service to man the over 4,000-kilometre borders between Nigeria and its neighbours and called for more cooperation from members of the public and the stakeholders hit by the menace.
“I would urge all stakeholders to be vigilant and call our attention to any smuggled goods even the ones that have found their way into our markets and shops. Once you alert us, we would move into the shop and seal it off and the owner would be made to direct us to the source of the smuggled products.
“We need your cooperation because efforts of the men of the service cannot completely stop smuggling, but we can reduce it and make it difficult for perpetrators to enjoy what they are doing,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAN has lamented the non-payment of compensation to farmers who were affected by the Avian Flu of 2016.
The National President of PAN, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, noted that this was not encouraging to practitioners.