NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled a US$100.37 million (N36 billion) university-based programme that seeks to revive the country’s poultry sector.

The programme will provide infrastructure that will support sustainable production of poultry whilst reducing pressure for foreign exchange demand through import substitution by local poultry production.

CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Dr Okwu Nnanna, says that the objective of the programme is to reduce the importation as well as close the existing demand and supply gaps in the country by increasing local chickens and egg production.

Speaking during a meeting with vice chancellors of universities on the poultry revival programme, Dr Okwu described the poultry sub-sector as the most commercialised of all Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors.

“We rely on the university-based poultry production model because you have the existing infrastructure, experience and human assets to enable production at reduced cost and in a competitive manner.

“Let me emphasise that we have structured this programme to ensure that they can be accessed by those who need them the most and are ready to operate their facilities in a commercially viable manner.

“This programme is directly in conformity with our resolve to diversify the economy, be a catalyst for job creation and inclusive economic growth.

“While these are our ultimate goals, our main intermediate objective is to ensure that poultry production is increased as well as end the smuggling of poultry products into Nigeria,” he said.

In order to ensure the attainment of these goals, he highlighted that CBN would be committing considerable human, material, and financial resources to monitoring both the disbursement and utilisation of the funds in a robust and verifiable manner.

According to Dr Okwu, illegal importation of poultry meat from Benin estimated at about 1.2 million metric tonnes, has negatively impacted the sector while he noted that measures were being taken by the apex bank to check the trend.

The move also comes as a boost to the federal government’s bid of diversifying the country’s economy through stimulating and encouraging investments in the agriculture sector.

Reports have suggested that the country’s economic recovery plan is solely based on six priority sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, and solid minerals, including iron, gold, and coal.