By Bode Olushegun
The lockdown of Nigeria to combat the spread of coronavirus may result in the loss of over N3 trillion investments in poultry, the Poultry Association of Nigeria has raised the alarm.
Addressing a press conference on Friday in Maiduguri, the National President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ezekiel Ibrahim, said Nigeria’s government needed to treat carefully the consideration of locking down the nation in response to the rampaging coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “The situation of the poultry products market is not stable at the moment, and if urgent steps are not taken to remove the restriction on the movement of vehicles conveying such critical poultry like day-old-chicks (DOCs), meat and eggs, poultry feeds and drugs which are daily needed by all Nigerians, the poultry industry which is on the part of becoming the mainstay of the Nigerian livestock industry might be completely destroyed.”
Ibrahim, while claiming that present investments in the poultry industry was put conservatively at N3 trillion, said: “We are trying to communicate the close relationship between food producing companies that are considered system relevant and other infrastructural sectors that are tightly connected and without which the food supply chain can’t be kept on.
“It is important to relax and make flexible the rules that restrict movement of all kinds of vehicles, and appealing to government at the federal and state governments to allow transport- trucks and buses carrying inbound supplies or outbound products of food, chicken and day-oil-chicks (DOCs) and other FMCG products to be allowed to operate to ensure supplies continuity of essential products.”
He added that: “While the above is considered as very urgent and utmost for the continued supplies of protein to Nigerians, we implore the government to consider granting some palliatives to egg and day old chicks producers who are unable to sell their chicks, eggs and feeds as a result of the lockdown caused by the measures already taken by the state government in restricting inter-state transport movement.”
He however commended the present administration for initiating the policy of producing locally “what we eat and consume as a nation without which the food security of the country could have been threatened now with the complete lock down of the country as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”