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Interrogating How Border Closure Could Have Saved Nigeria’s Poultry Industry, N50 Billion

The Oasis Reporters

December 29, 2019

It is very usual for some upbeat officials to throw up some data, toss up some figures and make some analyses to support a point of view or policy, and the public is expected to swallow it, hook line and sinker.

Eustace Iyayi, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) has asserted that the land border closure with neighbouring countries has saved the poultry industry in Nigeria about N50 billion since its commencement in October.

He made the disclosure at a news conference in Abuja during a news conference with the theme, “Nigeria border closure: Impact on the livestock sub-sector, food security and employment generation.”

According to Mr Iyayi, the multiplier effect of the border closure has also reflected on the upsurge in the operations along the value chain with regards to supply of inputs, storage facilities, transportation/logistics and value addition.

Interrogating Mr. Iyayi’s “multiplier effect” theory, what has “storage facilities, transportation/logistics” etc got to do with border closure positivity ? Do storage facilities evaporate into thin air and disappear if border gates were thrown open ?

Iyayi further said that given Nigeria’s huge total feed output of 5.3 million metric tonnes in 2016, 80 per cent of the output was attributable to the poultry industry.

“With an estimated 180 million poultry population and annual output in excess of 700,000 metric tonnes of eggs, that is about 450 million crates of eggs and 300,000 metric tonnes of meat, one can only imagine the several hundreds of thousands saved.

The question to be asked is this, with Nigeria’s estimated population put at almost 200 million, is 180 million poultry population, sufficient to cater for the nutritional protein needs of Nigerians ?

Iyayi adds further that “this is perhaps, with millions of direct and indirect jobs created by the industry in its entire value chain, in conjunction with its related ancillaries.

“It is indeed an almost endless web of commercial activities.

“These ranges from hatcheries, day-old chicks distribution, broiler/layer farming, broiler processing, poultry meat and egg retail shops, crop processing, raw materials supply, feed mill operations, feed distribution, among others, ” he said.

The registrar emphasised that the huge impact could, however, grow exponentially and be translated to more concrete economic gains and accelerated growth of the nation’s poultry industry.

According to him, the growth could go beyond the current estimated annual rate of 3.3 per cent, by taking total control of local market.

Mr Iyayi said that it was clear that poultry sub-sector, the most commercialised of all Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors with a current net worth of N1.6 trillion, will play a significant role in contributing to the current government’s effort to create 100 million jobs.

“Before the border closure, the poultry industry in the livestock sub-sector was badly hit.

“Nigeria consumed about two million tonnes of poultry meat annually, 70 per cent of which was imported. Poultry meat was heavily smuggled into the country through our land borders.

“The imported products, often of lower quality, attracted lower prices. This led to the closure or down sizing of several poultry farms with consequential business and job losses along the poultry value chain.

What Iyayi has failed to address here is, how the imported poultry products are of lower quality.
Were the chickens tinier or of a different specie ?
Where is the parent stock of Nigerian poultry from, if not from abroad ab initio ? How come the one sent to Nigeria and produced in Nigeria of superior quality, whereas the ones produced abroad and sent to Nigeria is of inferior quality, whereas genetically, their grandparent stock are all the same ?

If Nigeria consumes about two million tonnes of poultry meat annually, 70 per cent of which was imported, according to Iyayi, what does it say beyond the fact that the local production level is at a meager 30 percent ?
If government then closes the land borders because “Poultry meat was heavily smuggled into the country through our land borders”, the 70 percent deficit in production would still be there, and the selling price of the 30 percent would hit the roof.
Is that not creating scarcity and impoverishing the people ?

Government should of necessity, find out why Nigerians are not filling the supply gap and ameliorate it. If Iyayi’s claim is then correct that smuggled poultry is of inferior quality, Nigerians would shun it because of the sufficiency in the quality home produced ones.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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