By Gbenga Akinfenwa
Indications are emerging that prices of chicken and other poultry products might soon go beyond the reach of average Nigerians as farmers are struggling to breakthrough.
Nigerians felt a bit of this last December, as the cost of chicken rose to about 100 per cent, forcing many households to seek alternatives to celebrate the yuletide.
Funsho Olasoju, a resident of Egbeda in Alimosho Local Council of Lagos State told The Guardian that the same size of chicken he bought in 2021 at the rate of N7, 000 from open market was sold for N12, 000 in December.
He said: “The chicken was meant for my in-laws. In 2021, I bought seven chickens, which I distributed to people. At rate of N12, 000, I couldn’t afford to give anybody during the festive period, except my in-laws.
“For our consumption, we sought an alternative – we resorted to buying live turkey, as the price difference was not actually much.”
Mrs. Funmi Ojerinde, who resides in Abule-Egba, disclosed that the two sets of birds she met at her customer’s shop were far beyond her reach. “The two sets of chicken I saw were Broilers and Noilers, at the rate of N16, 000 and N24, 000, respectively. I was shocked. If I had enough money on me, I would have bought a sizeable goat, which shouldn’t be more than N20, 000 at the period.
“At last, I got from one of the landlords in my area at rate of N7,000, though still on the high side, I still managed to buy for my family to get something to celebrate the Christmas.”
Sadly, a crate of egg previously sold between N500 and N750, is currently tilting towards between N2, 500 and N3, 000, forcing many to abandon egg consumption.
Poultry farmers have expressed fear that prices of poultry produce might increase further in months to come if rising cost of raw materials is not addressed on time.
The Chairman, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Lagos State, Mr. Godwin Egbebe, who regretted that about 10 per cent of poultry farmers in the state are no longer in business, said the few still in operation are striving to stay afloat.
“This unpleasant development is due to high cost of raw materials for the production of feeds and other logistics. The sad news is that the price is till going up. I also mill feeds, the feed that I normally produce for N308, 000 per tonne, is now over N358, 000.
“Even selling my eggs at the farm gate price of N2, 000 per crate, is not giving me any profit. When I told my customers that I want to increase the price to N2, 100, they were begging. Will begging stop the problem? If care is not taking, one will not be able to continue with this business as a lot of our members have closed shop. About 10 per cent of poultry farmers in Lagos are no longer in business. Few of us staying put are just trying to survive.”
The State Administrative Secretary, PAN, Ogun State, Temitayo Oguntola, who also confirmed that prices of poultry produce might continue to increase, listed high cost of feed, cost of fuel and incessant kidnapping of farmers as major contributing factors to the challenges facing the industry.
Oguntola said: “The problem of the industry had persisted over the years, but the farmers have been managing it. Those who couldn’t manage are folding up. At the peak of 2022, the prices went up because of the increase in the cost of feeds caused by high cost of raw materials, especially maize and soybeans.
“More importantly, we observed that it wasn’t only agriculture sector that was affected, but the entire economy of the country was affected, especially the high dollar rate because most of the products used for feed production are imported.”
Oguntola revealed that a bag of layers mash sold for N5, 200 in January 2022, increased to N6, 600 around December, and Broilers starters mash sold for N7, 000, increased to between N10, 400 to N11, 000. “These led to high cost of poultry produce.
“For instance, a crate of egg goes for N2, 200 at the farm, for any farmer to survive, a crate will need to sell between N2, 800 to N3,000, in local areas, lets not talk of Port Harcourt, Lagos and other states.
“Due to the level of insecurity in the land, most farmers are leaving the comfort zone of their farms into other businesses. Poultry farmers were the targets of kidnapping in 2022; I can say precisely that in our association, there were more than seven kidnapping cases, some of the victims relocated to other countries. In fact, towards the end of the year – October and November, we had serious kidnapping cases where over N20m ransom were paid.”