NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has so far released the sum of N12.552 billion to large, medium, and small-scale poultry farmers in the country as part of its strategy to boost local production capacity and create more jobs.

This was revealed by the CBN Director, Development Finance Department, Mr. Phillip Yusuf, who indicated that the disbursement of funds to farmers was an ongoing process as more are being shortlisted for the loan.

According to him, the additional fund will be disbursed to poultry farmers before the end of 2020 to guarantee, among others, improved affordability and accessibility of eggs, broiler meat, and day-old-chicks, assured market of egg-producers through off-take, create more jobs and improve protein intake for Nigerians.

The funds were issued since the last quarter of 2019 to November 2020, via various commercial banks and the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, reports The Guardian.

Large-scale companies that have benefited from the intervention include Fortune Heights and Animal Care, both in Ogun State, Dasco Engineering in Lagos, Olam Hatcheries in Kaduna, Eastern Plains in Anambra State, and Emmpek Farms in Delta State.

Other beneficiaries listed under the Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) window include Elabi Farms in Bayelsa and Aladeyelu Farms in Ondo.

The CBN noted that 639 poultry farmers that applied through the regular AGSMEIS window had also received funds as autonomous poultry farmers, through NIRSAL to the tune of N1.996 billion.

Similarly, the sum of N1.591 billion has been disbursed to 898 poultry farmers across the country to ameliorate the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.

Recently, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) called on the federal government to intervene in the sector to mitigate the losses occasioned by the restriction of movement of goods and services amidst the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown.

The sector was hugely affected by low supply of feeds which made the CBN approve four companies i.e., Wacot Limited, Chi farms Limited, Crown Flour Mills Limited and Premier Feeds Company Limited to import 262,000 tons of maize in the country.

The move was aimed to strike a balance between food imports and local production capacities to meet anticipated shortfall as maize constitutes between 50 per cent to 70 per cent of chicken feeds and due to high demands of maize for human consumption, it has created an unhealthy competition.

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