Following an outbreak of Avian influenza in Niger State with more still expected to follow, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), the umbrella body of all farmers in the country, has warned that the economy could lose about N100 billion in revenue this year and N2 trillion in poultry investments to the deaths of millions of birds in the poultry industry.
The association, therefore, called on the Federal Government to urgently intervene in curbing the spread. According to the National President, AFAN, Arc. Kabir Ibrahim, in an interview with New Telegraph, the outbreak, coupled with the scarcity of maize, can have a devastating impact on the poultry industry.
The AFAN president noted that the poultry industry was already in crisis over animal feeds since the outbreak of COVID-19. Recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Sabo Nanono, revealed that the ongoing crisis between herders and farmers would affect the N33 trillion livestock’s contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to him, the experience of 2002 is still fresh in the minds of every poultry farmer in the country following the mass killing of birds running into millions and the catastrophe in terms of investment and revenue to Nigeria’s GDP.
He, however, pointed out that there was absolute need for government to support and intervene as the bird flu also affects the physical health of human beings if not properly addressed. While soliciting for government’s intervention, Ibrahim added that as part of its intervention, government must compensate poultry farmers, whose birds are culled by these two crises currently heralding Nigeria’s agric sector. Speaking on the flu, the AFAN president said: “It portends financial crisis for the poultry industry and the sooner it is stemmed, the better. The experience of 2002 is still fresh in our minds. The population of poultry is very high and a full scale pandemic will involve several millions of poultry. This translates to several billions, unfortunately.
“There is the absolute need for government’s support and intervention as the flu affects the physical health of human beings if not properly addressed. The economic loss is colossal and calls for compensation to the affected farmers. This was done before and must be done again. The strategy for control is culling all the poultry in the affected farms to stem spread.” On the economic implication, Ibrahim said: “Very grave consequences. The poultry industry is threatened with total collapse by the combination of exorbitant feed cost and Avian Influenza (AI).”
On the grain crisis, the Chairman, South West wing of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Hon. Dr. Olabode Adetoyi disclosed to New Telegraph that it was also causing crisis in the sector with an imminent five million poultry jobs on the line. Adetoyi, who decried the acute scarcity of maize and soya beans, said that the poultry industry may suffer a drastic collapse if the government does not salvage the situation.
In the South West region alone, the chairman revealed that the poultry industry in more than six decades had been growing consistently to a population of 30 million, with 60 per cent representing the national poultry population. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates Nigeria’s poultry consumption will increase 10-fold by 2040, “assuming moderate feed costs, while domestic poultry production is expected to increase by eight billion eggs and 100 million kilograms of poultry meat per annum.”