*A NATIONWIDE ADDRESS OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT, POULTRY ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA,
MR. EZEKIEL IBRAHIM MAM ON THE IMPACT OF THE LOCKDOWN OF THE COVID-19 EPIDEMIC ON THE NIGERIAN POULTRY INDUSTRY.
Fellow poultry farmers, Gentlemen of the press, members of the Poultry Association of Nigeria and the entire citizens of our great country. It is my great pleasure even though with mix feelings of the recent development in our country to address you today at this challenging moment of our live.
At the moment, we are facing the most difficult period of our national lives with the outbreak of the dreaded Corona virus otherwise known as Covid-19.
We should however thank God for giving our President, Muhammadu Buhari the wisdom to initiate the policy of producing locally what we eat and consume as a nation without which the food security of the country could have been threatened now with the complete lock down of the country as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
We could all imagine what the situation could be today if we are to rely on import of basic food items when the major source of our revenue (Petroleum product price have collapsed), and the entire world system in chaos, confusion and disarray.
As an Association of poultry producers, we are fully in support of the Federal Government on all measures taken so far to improve the health and economy of the nation and to curtail the further spread of the deadly virus.
We are in support of the closure of all the airports and the land borders. As much as we appreciate the pro-activeness and efforts of the Government in the above direction, we wants to bring to the attention of the Government the following negative impacts of the various actions various State Government have so far taken on the poultry industry in Nigeria.
1. The restrictions of inter-state movement of vehicles by the various state Government is to worsen the food and protein supply situation to Nigerians especially that ‘FOOD’ is considered as very essential items for human health and survival.
2. The situation of the poultry products market is not stable at the moment, and if urgent steps are not taken to remove the restriction on the movement of vehicles conveying such critical poultry like Day-Old-Chicks (DOCs), Meat and Eggs, Poultry feeds and drugs which are daily needed by all Nigerians, the poultry industry which is on the part of becoming the mainstay of the Nigerian livestock industry might be completely destroyed.
3. We are trying to communicate the close relationship between food producing companies that are considered system relevant and other infrastructural sectors that are tightly connected and without which the food supply chain can’t be kept on. It is important to relax and make flexible the rules that restrict movement of all kinds of vehicles, and appealing to Government at the Federal and State Government to adjust the regulations to allow transports - trucks and buses carrying inbound supplies or outbound products of food, chicken and Day-Old- Chicks (Docs) and other FMCG products to be allowed to operate to ensure supplies continuity of essential products. These trucks must have means of identification to enable law enforcement agencies identify them easily.
4. While the above is considered as very urgent and utmost for the continued supplies of protein to Nigerians, we implore the Government to consider granting some palliatives to Egg and Day Old chicks producers who are unable to sell their chicks, eggs and feeds as a result of the lock down caused by the measures already taken by the state Government in restricting inter-state transport movement. Not left out is the Input suppliers and other category of farm service providers who are critical to the food security survival of the country.
5. While our appeal is not only to the Government, we also will want to use the opportunity of this Press Conference to appeal to poultry framers across the country to observe ’Biosecurity’ not only on their farms but in the entire poultry production value chain so that the poultry industry might not be confronted with any other challenge of strange disease outbreak. In making efforts to conclude this Press Conference, it is the prayers of the members of the National Executive Council and the entire membership of the Association that the Government at all levels should consider the plight of poultry farmers at the moment by relaxing the movement of vehicles regulation for all means of transportation carrying Day-old-chick (Docs), Eggs, Poultry feeds, Input and any other production inputs like Maize, Soyabeans and Offals for the continued production of poultry products as poultry is Food and therefore should be considered as essential items and services.
🛑Dr Joseph Deji-Folutile
Founder, WORLD FARMERS CENTRE
📣Press Release by
Mr ONALLO Akpa