By Felicia Imohimi
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has appealed to the government and other stakeholders to expedite action to restore security for farmers nationwide to achieve the nation’s goal of food security and self sufficiency.
Mr Ezekiel Mam, National President of the Association, made the call at a news conference in Abuja.
The conference was tagged “The current situation of the Nigerian poultry industry and the way to sustain the growth and development of the industry in Nigeria”.
Mam noted that the security situation in the country had become overwhelming most especially in the northern part of the country where grains are largely produced.
“We will continue to appeal to government and all stakeholders to move fast to restore security for farmers as without the farmers life will be near impossible for people living in the towns and cities.”
He decried that for over 10 years farming in the north east, particularly Borno, had been difficult due to security challenges.
According to him, in Borno there used to be two cropping seasons for maize in the rainy season and at the bank of the Lake Chad.
“Today for quite 10 years there is no farming activity at the bank of the Lake Chad.”
The president further noted that the north west was currently experiencing banditry, kidnapping likewise the middle belt experiencing cattle rustling, kidnapping, robbery among others.
“So, once farmers cannot feel free and safe to go to farm invariably it will result to low food production because nobody will take risk to go to the farm and this will affect our goal to achieve food sufficiency and security.
“So, security is number one thing because people should naturally feel free.
“If we don’t have such security in the next two years to three years it is going to be difficult for people in towns and cities to access food.
“This is because if food is not coming from the farm you can imagine what our situation will be in the urban centres,” he noted
Mam, however, emphasised that there should be synergy among government, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders and the elite to ensure that farmers freely move to their farms without any challenge.
“We will continue to appeal to government and all stakeholders to move fast to restore security for farmers as without the farmers life will be near impossible for people living in the towns and cities.
“It is our belief that if the government can address these concerns, then the determination of government to achieve national food security and self sufficiency will be attained soonest.
“No citizen, then, will go to bed with empty stomach.
“We should encourage peace building, encourage sanctity of life because whenever a life is lost it is not to the immediate family but the country in general,” he said.
Mam identified poultry industry in the country as a major player in the agricultural value chain.
He added that it absorbed about 40 per cent of maize and 60 per cent of soybeans produced in the country.
He further said the industry was the major offtaker of rice bran, wheat offal and groundnut cake.
He said that there was continued determination by farmers to create awareness and increase the per capita consumption of poultry products by Nigerians by 50 per cent of current consumption rate.
He expressed the readiness of the association to create a new revolution in the entire agricultural value chains in the country.
According to him, this can only be done if serious consideration and specific attention is given to the poultry industry as the major supply source of cheap and quality protein products.
“We request and pray for the government to create favourable and enabling policies to encourage agricultural production as enunciated by Mr President.” (NAN)