Farms hit by high feed prices

Farms hit by high feed prices

HIGH -feed prices are causing financial losses to husbandry households and farms, especially those that raise poultry,  the International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFPD) has said.

Coordinator, International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFPD), Prof Babafunso Sonaiya, who served as Head of Department of Animal Sciences, Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Oyo State said increasing feed prices translated to high production costs because feed accounts for  87 per cent of  the total cost of production.

Feed prices for poultry, have risen over the past four months as raw materials used for feed, such as corn, rice bran and fish flour, and have continued to rise.

Nigeria imports materials to produce animal feed, including soybean, corn and meat flour.  Recently, Local corn producers had mounted pressure on the government to ban imports to enable them produce raw materials for animal feed.

They also urged the Government to offer loans and preferential tax rates for the animal-feed industry. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government revised its foreign exchange (forex) policy to ban maize importers from accessing forex through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Sonaiya added that the sector was facing also the challenge of high feed conversion ratios.

His words: “This increase the farmers cost. In Nigeria, feed conversion ratio is typically 3.0 per cent coupled with high bird mortality rate. If a farmer produces 100,000 birds he will lose at least 1,600 of them. The high feed conversion ratio and high mortality rate combine to produce a phenomenon which indicates that there is a higher amount of toxic corn used in feed due to aflatoxin. With this we find that raising chicken though lucrative is very difficult because of the high production cost. “

He continued that chicken production has been made expensive and investment in infrastructure is critical.

The President, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Ezekiel Ibrahim told The Nation recently that producers  were still battling shortage of maize to meet feed requirements, has said.

He explained that although new maize has arrived the market, but that they were not  good for feed because of large water content.

During the lockdown, scarce supplies and high prices on feed market affected thousands of poultry farmers as the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for farmers to go to their farms and for millers to be able to distribute enough feed among poultry farms at a guaranteed price.

He noted that the importation of 262,000 metric tonnes of maize saved Nigeria from a food crisis.

He said that PAN was in support of the maize import as part of the measures by the Federal Government to bridge the supply gap forced on local farmers by several factors, including flooding, which has ravaged several farms and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He called on the Federal Government to peg interest rates on borrowing to the sector to a maximum of three per cent to encourage private sector investments in agriculture.

Ibrahim said the government should reduce the interest rate to zero percent to assist poultry farmers.

Copyright

The Nation

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