Lockdown: Poultry farmers recount losses, want govt to mop up eggs

The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has asked the Federal Government to buy up the eggs produced by poultry farmers and distribute to vulnerable people in the country in the era of lockdown.

PAN said this call became necessary as poultry farmers were not able to sell the eggs they produce due to lack of market as the lockdown continues.

PAN also called on the government to remove the restriction on interstate movement on some essential items for poultry production such as maize, soybean, poultry products, wheat offals and poultry feeds of all types. Also very essential are day-old chicks (docs), eggs, frozen chicken, drugs.

Nigerian Tribune reports that Director-General of PAN, Onallo Akpa, PAN appealed in a statement he signed that all poultry farm workers should be exempted from the movement restriction.

According to the statement, the poultry farmers want “the removal of all restrictions on interstate movement of vehicles by the various states government for the transportation of all essential items for the production of poultry: Maize, soybean, poultry products, wheat offals and poultry feeds of all types. Also very essential are day-old chicks (docs), eggs, frozen chicken, drugs and all other essential food that are either meant for poultry or the livestock value chain entirely. This was reinforced in Mr President’s address to the nation”.

The statement further said “the situation of the markets for poultry products are not stable at the moment despite the facts that eggs and poultry meat are needed daily by all Nigerians.

“A lot of table eggs produced are not being sold because of the absence of economic and social activities and the closure of schools. We appeal to the government to consider buying up eggs from poultry farmers for distribution to the vulnerable population of old people and the sick that might likely come down with the COVID-19.

‘We advise that the necessary ministries and organs of government should be mandated to work with the association at all levels to make the above possible.”

PAN further requested that “that all poultry farm workers should be exempted from the movement restriction as there is a relationship between food-producing companies and farms that are considered system relevant with other infrastructural sectors that are tightly connected, and without which the food supply chain cannot work.

“We, therefore, solicit that all farm workers and personnel with valid means of identification should be allowed to go to their workplace since they are dealing with living animals.

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“Since Nigeria is a federation where the state governors have the competences of authority to restrict movements of people, goods and services, we appeal for a well-coordinated approach to be managed by the Governors Forum in conjunction with all critical stakeholders forming both internal and external crisis committees that will ease and smoothen the various regulations that tend to stifle what all we try to salvage.”

PAN added that the poultry industry contributes about 27 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of the Nigeria economy, providing about 20 million direct and indirect employment to Nigerians.

PAN also said the industry provides the cheapest and safest sources of animal protein: Eggs and meat to the citizens.

While commending the government on the efforts made so far to contain the spread of the disease, PAN urged the government to consider their request as it implements the lockdown in some parts of the country.

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