Poultry farmers and feed millers have stated that the shortage of soybeans and maize in Nigeria, will continue to cause a rise in the price of agro feeds, which threatens the poultry meat sub sector.
Poultry farmers in Ogbomosho, Oyo state, have also lamented on the rising cost of soybeans, which has increased up to four times its normal price per kilogram.
From February to August this year, there were no poultry birds (broilers) at the Iddo, Oyo State-located poultry farm of a large-scale farmer identified only as Mr. Atanda. The farm was neither ravaged by bird flu nor ran down by incompetent hands. Scarcity and increase in the prices of feeds alongside a sharp reduction in sales were responsible for the situation.
Mr. Atanda, who is the farm manager, said he began raising layers to keep his farm running but he barely broke even because sales were still not favorable and the prices of feed rose.
Also, another large-scale poultry farmer and journalist, Mr. Ayodele Ojo, said the recent increase in the prices of poultry feeds made him sell off some of his birds because of the cost of feeding them, adding that his “profit margin had been wiped off.”
He added that the current situation caused one of his poultry farmer friends, identified only as Ola, to put the farm he invested about N6 million on up for sale. He stated that when no buyer was forthcoming, he diverted into piggery.
Pricy, essential soybeans and maize
According to Poultry Hub Australia, the dominant grains in poultry feed are corn and soybeans. Corn, also known as maize, is an important energy source for all poultry feed, while soybeans is the major source of vegetable protein diet in poultry feeds.
However, prices of these grains in the past five months have been on the rise, further triggering an increase in the price of feed and poultry products. A report from the Poultry Farmers Association (PAN) noted that the price of soybeans increased by about 300 per cent and the price of maize increased by 170 per cent.
Apart from diseases and bird flu that can ravage the poultry farming industry, rising costs of feeds caused by insecurity, inflation and lack of a price controlling system are the factors currently bedeviling the sector. These led some farmers of diverse ages and experience in the business to sell their birds, quit poultry farming for piggery or other farming systems.
Some of the poultry farmers said they took loans to keep the business running while offering eggs at giveaway prices to stay afloat.
Mr. Ojo, who started poultry farming two years ago, noted that then 25kg of soy layers’ feeds cost N2,600. However, in October, he bought the same quantity for about N5,595. He noted that the increase led to a rise in the price of eggs.
He stated, “As of two months ago, the price of a bag of soybean starter’s feed for broilers was less than N7, 000, it is now over N8,000. In October, it increased by N200. Two years ago, a crate of an egg at farm price was N700 but now, we sell between N1, 450 and N1,500.” Punch