The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has explained that other factors led to price increase on maize and not necessarily the ban on its importation as being insinuated.
This was made known by the Principal Manager, Anchor Borrowers Unit, Team Lead, Poultry Working Group, CBN, Okunola Abiodun, on Webinar organised by Wandieville Media on the topic, ‘Nigeria’s Ban on Maize Importation: Implication on the Poultry Industry and Opportunities for Alternative Feed’.
Abiodun said the dynamics of food prices coupled with the effect of the lockdown and change in weather conditions led to an increase in the price of commodities.
However, he called for protection of smallholder farmers following over 30 per cent of post-harvest losses recorded over the years as a result of lack storage facilities, which he appealed to operators in the sector to consider construction of processing centers for them in order to solve problem of post-harvest losses and increase supply of maize.
It has been a challenge in Nigeria’s poultry industry since CBN revised forex policy that banned importers of maize from accessing forex from the apex bank. Stakeholders are currently nervous due to the negative impact it has made on their business.
Organiser of the virtual meeting, Wandieville, put a series of webinars involving relevant stakeholders to discuss the new policy; the second day of the webinar which held on Thursday August 27, 2020 focused on ‘Nigeria’s Ban on Maize Importation: Implication on the Poultry Industry and Opportunities for Alternative Feed’ with stakeholders from the poultry industry and the CBN.
The panelists for the session include Principal Manager, Anchor Borrowers Unit/Team Lead, Poultry Working Group, CBN Abuja Okunola Abiodun; Director General, Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Onallo Akpa; Country Representative for the International Livestock Research Institution, ILRI, Nigeria, Dr Tunde Amole; Chief Executive Officer, Farmkart Foods, Jesse Osiobe; Chief Executive Officer, Demirs Farms/Chairperson, Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Oyo Chapter, Blessing Alawode, CEO, Terudee Farms Ltd/ All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Oyo Chapter, Engr John Oluwoye Olateru; and Financial Journalist (Macroeconomy and Development), Stears Business, the moderator of the discussion, Gbemisola Alonge.
He said: “Relevant stakeholders need to join forces to create alternatives sources of carbohydrate for the production of poultry feed. The policy is not the sole contributor to the increase in maize price; the dynamics of food prices coupled with the effect of the lockdown and change in weather conditions have also led to an increase in the price of commodities.
“There are no fast routes to economic development. There is no silver bullet to this. We should collaborate and come together to sort out ways. You cannot leave the power to produce food for your people in the hands of strangers.”
He also urged poultry farmers to create more sources of income for themselves from their farms, which manure conversion to biogas that would serve as energy source to cut down operational costs within the farm, while eggs can be processed into powder to secure the patronage of institutional buyers.
He disclosed that technological innovations when pitched with good business plans the CBN through various schemes will finance them, hence stakeholders should to seek viable solutions for the poultry industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of Demris Farms/Chairperson, Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Oyo Chapter, Blessing Alawode, pointed out the inelastic nature of demand for eggs, which has led to loss on investment.
According to Alawode the success and sustainability of any poultry business lies in the ability to “restock farm produce”, which the policy has further made it difficult for farmers to do the needful in their businesses.
She said: “The poultry farmer is having a hard time because he is unable to replace his stock and this means downsizing which will lead to unemployment for a few hands the farmer engages and loss of investments.”
The Country Representative for the International Livestock Research Institution, ILRI, Nigeria, Dr Tunde Adegoke Amole, kicked against the policy and accused the CBN of not consulting widely before formulating the policy on ban of maize importation.
Amole said, “Solving a problem to create another one has always been a mode of operation in this country. To what extent did the CBN work with other stakeholders before bringing this out?”
He also pointed out that both livestock and humans consume maize, hence the price increase of maize is affecting nutrition of most Nigerians following the affordability challenge in the market.
He added that cassava is an alternative for feed mills, but it is also a source of food for humans, therefore focus has to be shifted to cassava peels.
“Let us look beyond cassava and look into the peels, if we accept this, we will solve the problem of environmental pollution, increase in maize price and challenges we have with livestock”, he said.
Also the Director General, PAN, Onallo Akpa, tasked government on a workable development plan at all levels that would lead to galvanizing potentials in the industry.
He added that other crops such as palm oil, sorghum, and others can serve as substitutes for maize in the feed mills and the government can engage stakeholders in commercial agriculture to meet the demand for maize.