Appeals to govt to off-take already produced eggs
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Poultry farmers under the auspices of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, PAN, Tuesday, want to be exempted from restriction of movement declared by the government as part of lockdown measures to curtail the spread of Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic in the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General, PAN, Dr. Onallo Akpa, while commending the government’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus, but raised grave concerns over the current state of the poultry industry.
According to the statement, is an association and authentic body of poultry producers and allied businesses with membership in excess of over five million, the poultry industry has so far recorded a rare success story in the commercialization and modernization of agriculture in Nigeria, which the industry contributes about 27 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) of the Nigeria economy that had provided about 20 million direct and indirect employment to Nigerians.
The statement also added that the industry currently provides the cheapest and safest sources of animal protein including eggs and meat to over 200 million Nigerians, and the fact that the poultry industry in Nigeria is worth over N10 trillion, the industry also plays a critical role in food security of the nation, therefore all hands must be on deck to ensure that there are no deliberate or omission collateral damages to achievements recorded in the poultry industry in the last 20 years.
However, the association also shared the pains, agonies, and frustrations occasioned by COVID-19 and appreciated efforts of the Federal, States and Local Government authorities on handling the virus so far.
The statement reads in part, “In furtherance of all concerted efforts by the Government to tackle the menace of the dreaded COVID-19 epidemic in the country of which the members of the Association are in support of, we want to unequivocally appeal to Government to look at and implement the following resolutions to assist address the present problems confronting the poultry industry in the country.
“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, soya-bean, 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 situation of the markets for poultry products is not stable at the moment despite the fact 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.
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“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 work since they are dealing with living animals.”
According to the statement since Nigeria is a Federation where the State Governors have the competences of authority to restrict movements of people, goods, and services, they, therefore, “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.”
The statement also disclosed that the association solicits for the launching of massive media campaigns to be coordinated by the National Orientation Agency, NOA, to highlight the relevance of food and the right to food by all Nigerians.