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Nigeria: Poultry farmers seek gov't funding

Poultry farmers in Nigeria say they are unable to expand their businesses due to inadequate funding.

Rafiu Shokeye, a poultry farmer in Sango Otta, Ogun, Nigeria, said most small-scale poultry farmers have not been able to expand their farms because of the lack of funds.

“Running poultry is not an easy task. The farmer needs to have enough money to fund the business because it is capital intensive. The birds need to be fed on daily basis in order to have good products and this does not leave out the money spent on buying vaccines to prevent the outbreak of diseases, which can be disastrous for the farmer when it happens.”

Shokeye went on to say that the amount of money that farmers keep having to spend on feed is continually rising. “There is either an increase in the price of maize or groundnut or other ingredients used in processing the feeds… Most of the farmers are now finding alternative feeding means for their birds while others are getting out of the business.”

“The lack of loans to survive in the environment is also not encouraging and this has been affecting the production capacity of most farmers because the bulk of the birds consumed in the country are either from big farms or imported. Small-scale farmers have not been able to contribute much to bird production because of the lack of access to loan facilities.”

Another poultry farmer, John Olanrewaju, said the poultry sector is underdeveloped and will remain so for a long time if the government does not intervene. He said most poultry farmers are yet to recover from the loss recorded during the outbreak of avian flu in 2007, which led to the loss of many birds and eggs.

“Most small-scale farms cannot access loans from the micro-finance banks because the banks claim that their farming standard does not meet the normal farming standards required by the bank. This has in turn affected the turnout of bird production because the small farms end up not producing enough bird for local consumption. This has also had a negative effect on egg production in the country,” said Olanrewaju.

Shokeye said if the government is serious about its bid to revive agriculture in the country, it should allocate loans to small scale farmers in livestock farming, especially the poultry sector and not just crop farmers.

Source: 234NEXT.com

Natalie Berkhout

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