POULTRY farmers in Nigeria’s Southwest have said they incurred losses of about N50 billion due to the disruption in their businesses caused by the recent naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to the chairman of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in the zone, Gideon Oluleye, the losses were due to egg glut and perished poultry products during the implementation of the policy.
Oluleye, who spoke to newsmen in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, on Friday, April 28, expressed concern that about 25 million jobs in the poultry industry could be under threat if the government did not intervene to mitigate their challenges.
He stated that while farmers were not against the policy, the losses associated with its implementation before the Supreme Court judgment had almost destroyed the poultry industry.
Oluleye, appealing to the Federal government to quickly take action, highlighted the heavy losses that farmers suffered, with many farms collapsed or running at half capacity, and others in danger of shutting down.
He urged the government to mop up approximately 15 to 20 million crates of unsold eggs and chickens, and to use these products to feed internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps and all correctional facilities throughout the country.
He also suggested using unsold eggs in government hospitals, saying eggs aid in quick recovery and building up immunity of sick patients, just as he called for the resuscitation of the school feeding programme, which he said relies heavily on eggs and chicken meat.
Oluleye further requested that the government should intervene by subsidising major inputs in poultry farming, particularly maize, which sells for N240,000 a tonne, while a tonne of soya beans goes for N450,000.
He said, “Let me remind you that the negative impact the COVID-19 had on farmers and farms is yet to abate.
“Hardly had farmers recovered from this when the CBN brought another hardship on them through the policy of the naira redesign.
“As we speak now, between 15 and 20 million crates of eggs are in the economy looking for buyers.”
He emphasised the urgent need to rescue the poultry sector of the Nigerian economy, which generates approximately six per cent of the county’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Similarly, the Ogun state chairman of PAN, Idowu Asenuga, who also spoke with journalists, lamented that the sharp fall in the prices of poultry products in the Southwest alone resulted in N40 billion losses, while farmers incurred N10 billion losses from perishable products in their inventories.
Asenuga appealed to international grants and donor agencies, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank, and the Private Financial Advisory Network (PFAN), to support poultry farmers in Nigeria.
The naira redesign policy, which was the brainchild of the Muhammadu Buhari administration through the CBN, entailed the reconfiguration of the 200, 500 and 1,000 naira banknotes. The policy also involved the recalling of the old naira notes in those categories.
It was initiated last year with the intention to address high inflation and address vote buying, among others.
However, its poor implantation by the CBN cost the Nigerian economy N10 trillion to N15 trillion of national productivity in the first quarter of 2023, according to the former director-general of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale.
The Supreme Court nullified the policy in February and extended the validity for the old currency circulation till December 31, 2023.
The apex court’s decision arose from a suit filed by the Zamfara, Kogi and Kaduna state governments challenging the implementation of the policy.