Bemoaning a shortage of feed ingredients such as maize and soybean meal, a group of livestock farmers and feed millers have called on the government to come to their aid in preventing the livestock industry from collapsing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was made known at a briefing organized by the Feed Industry Practitioner’s Association of Nigeria (FIPAN), during which farmers warned that the situation would lead to an acute shortage of quality protein sources needed to boost nutrition and immunity against COVID-19 in the country’s teeming population.
Previously, Farmersmanual reported that the CBN had directed all commercials banks and authorized dealers to stop processing foreign exchange for maize importation so as to increase local production and stimulate a rapid economic recovery.
The policy is now affecting livestock farmers given that maize, which constitutes over 50 per cent of poultry and other livestock feed, is currently very scarce; where it can be found, it is very expensive, even as the price keeps rising.
The current sales price of maize is between N160,000 and N180,000 per ton, whereas it was sold between N60,000 and N80,000 per ton at the beginning of the farming season. In spite of this recent surge, some believe it is possible the price will increase further to around N200,000 per ton in the coming months.
Folarin Afelumo, president of FIPAN, narrated that the scarcity of feed ingredients has triggered a price increase in those that are available.
Lanre Bello, former chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria’s, Lagos chapter lamented that if the current scarcity of maize is not addressed, it could negatively affect the country’s economy.
Oyedele Oyediji , chairman of the Feed Supplements Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, said the livestock industry is a major employer of skilled personnel and that the feed mill crisis could spell disasters for the industry and the economy.