NIGERIA – Poultry farmers in Nigeria under the auspices of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria, are lamenting over scarcity of maize an important raw material for feed manufacturing, following the ban on maize imports coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

According to the poultry farmers, the situation is posing a threatening to the poultry sector and have called on the federal government, particularly the Central Bank of Nigeria to lift the ban.

Chairman of the Poultry Farmers Association of Nigeria, Mr Oluleye Gideon, said the cost of poultry inputs in the country were on the high side and called on the government to intervene.

“This sector is under serious threat as a result of the acute shortage of maize in the country. To worsen this case, recently the CBN also banned the importation of maize. This has further worsened the problem of the poultry farmers in the country to the extent that this sector may soon collapse,” he stated.

The Central Bank of Nigeria blocked access to foreign exchange for maize imports as it seeks to boost local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods, and increase jobs which were lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, CBN directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.

The association has also urged the CBN and other financial operators to wade in and put framework in place to enable poultry farmers access loan at five per cent interest rate, to rescue the once flourishing industry.

On its part the CBN has issued N16billion (US$41.2m) funding to the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MFAN) for the 2020/2021 planting season.

The funds will be distributed to about 40,000 members nationwide in the form of agro inputs like fertilizers, seeds, and agro-chemicals.

To further boost maize production during the 2020 wet season; the Association had acquired over 250,000 hectares of land, which will double their output this year, especially as the CBN has also supported them with the provision of high yielding maize seeds.

The associations target is to produce about 25 million metric tonnes of maize this year, to meet the 18million MT annual demand in Nigeria but with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the insecurity in the country the targeted amount might reduced by 20 or 30 percent.

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