- Partners varsities for sector’s growth
BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele says the apex bank will continuously promote massive investments aimed at growing the country’s poultry industry on a sustainable basis.
He said having invested over N35.9 billion in the sector so far, the CBN is resolute and focused on promoting a thriving partnership with relevant stakeholders to address existing demand gap that currently promotes cross-border smuggling activities from West African neighbours, Republic of Benin
Emefiele, who acknowledged the poultry sub-sector as the most commercialized of Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors, said: “The sub- sector contributes about 25% of Agricultural GDP to the Nigerian economy with a current net worth of about N1.6 trillion (PAN, 2017).”
The CBN Governor stated that with its planned massive investments in the nation’s poultry industry, the CBN will hopefully contributes to efforts aimed at curbing the worrying challenge of smuggling in the poultry sub-sector while also meeting local consumption demand as well as conserving the country’s foreign reserves.
Speaking at meeting with Vice-Chancellors on the University-Based Poultry Revival Programme, in Abuja on Monday, the CBN boss reeled out figures indicating that Nigeria’s chicken population currently stands at about 165 million and produces around 650,000MT and 300,00MT of eggs and meat respectively.
He also noted that with the local consumption figure projected at over 200m birds, the demand for eggs and meat presently hovers around 790,000MT and 1,500,000MT respectively, thereby leaving a huge demand gap that unfortunately encourages smuggling as a thriving business among some unscrupulous Nigerian businessmen and women.
Represented at the occasion by the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Policy, Mr Joseph Nnanna, the CBN Chief further hinted that over 1.2 million MT of poultry meat is being smuggled into the country from Benin Republic by some crooked business people bent on promoting their selfish interest and profiteering at the expense of the Nigerian economy.
According to Emefiele; “This is really unfortunate, and we are poised to stop it”, even as he noted that access to low, cheap and long term funding must be addressed as part of the worrying challenges inhibiting growth in the country’s poultry sector
He however lamented that the Nigerian poultry sector faces high production costs, safety concerns due to lack of sanitary controls, and technical constraints in processing and marketing, noting also that production costs are generally high due to lack of an integrated and automated industrial poultry sector.
Other challenges are poultry producers lack reliable access to inputs, including chicks and feed as well as high costs of veterinary services.
He further said through numerous interventions that include the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, and Real Sector Support Facility among others, the CBN has substantially addressed some of the challenges, adding; “For example, the sum of N35.9 billion has been released to 166 projects under Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, N507 million to 433 farmers and N238m for 112 projects under Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme.”
He said part of the intervention include the apex bank’s recent funding of the pioneer egg-powder production company in Nigeria to the tune of N2 billion under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement-Real Sector Support Facility (DCRR-RSSF) window.
The CBN Governor, while acknowledging the huge opportunities to expand local poultry industry, said the time has come to harness such potentials to grow the Nigerian economy, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s school feeding programme presents one of such huge potential that must be fully exploited.
In his remarks at the forum, President, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, applauded the CBN for its pragmatism in tackling key economic issues confronting the country.
Ibrahim expressed optimism that such laudable interventions would stimulate the much-desired productivity and growth in the poultry sub-sector in the overall interest of the economy.