NIGERIA – The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has issued a warning, stating that Nigeria’s poultry sector is on the verge of an imminent collapse due to the recent lifting of restrictions on foreign exchange required for the import of frozen chicken into the country.

The Association expressed concerns about the potential consequences of this decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which may severely impact an industry that provides over 20 million direct and indirect jobs and contributes significantly to the nation’s economy.

The CBN, on October 12, 2023, lifted the ban on importers of 43 items, including frozen chicken, that were previously restricted from accessing foreign exchange on its official platform.

In a statement, the Director-General of PAN, Onallo Akpa, and the National President of the association, Sunday Ezeobiora, raised concerns that the Nigerian poultry industry, valued at over N12 trillion, may face a grim future.

They warned that this could lead to Nigeria reverting to a time before 2000 when it was inundated with all sorts of imported poultry products, some of which were unsafe for consumption.

The poultry dealers recalled cases of unhealthy frozen poultry meat stored with chemicals imported into the country, emphasizing the negative implications of the CBN’s recent policy on the removal of forex restrictions.

They stated that this policy contradicted the government’s fiscal stance and had created an unacceptable impasse in the development of the poultry sector.

In addition, PAN had previously highlighted the ongoing challenges in the industry, including the shutdown of poultry farms due to the high price of maize, a vital feed for birds in the subsector.

The cost of maize had surged, forcing many farmers to halt operations. This situation posed a significant threat to the further development of the Nigerian poultry industry.

In a statement, PAN emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that the poultry industry in Nigeria is on the brink of total collapse if immediate intervention is not provided.

They called on the government to address the soaring prices of maize, which have made it unsustainable for farmers to continue their poultry operations.

The surge in the price of maize, which constitutes 60 to 70 per cent of poultry feed, resulted from both the import ban on maize and the scarcity of the product.

As a result, the price of eggs, a crucial source of daily protein for many Nigerians, has risen by over 118.34 per cent, severely affecting the affordability of essential food items.