Senate set to save poultry sector, says Saraki
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has said the Senate will intervene with legislations and other policies aimed at saving the nation’s poultry farmers from unfair competition by smugglers of imported products, lack of access to cheap funds and unfriendly policies which inhibit their growth.
Saraki, who spoke at the weekend during a tour of Shonga Commercial Farms project in Edu Local Government Area in the northern part of Kwara State, where displaced Zimbabwean Farmers now operate on a large scale in Nigeria, said the Senate will do everything it can to help big and small time poultry farmers survive, so that they can contribute to achieve self sufficiency in food production.
Accompanied on the trip by Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Senator Abdullahi Adamu who is Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Senator representing Kwara North District, Senator Shaba Lafiagi, the Senate President said there was no reason for Nigerian poultry farmers not to take over the West African sub-regional market.
He congratulated the owners of the Valentine Chicken, which now produces 4000 birds per day for their belief in Nigeria, which made them to invest millions of dollars in a rural area in Nigeria and employing over one thousand locals who now have the opportunity to learn new methods from the foreign farmers.
“What we have seen here is impressive. The massive hatchery, breeding and abattoir and the level of technology employed at the various levels show that the poultry industry is a big sector, which we must pay attention to. The Senate will work to save the sector against all the factors militating against its growth.
“We know that apart form providing cheap protein for our people and earning foreign exchange for us, we can also use the poultry industry to develop allied areas like maize and soya beans farming so as to supply feeds for the birds. What we have been told is that all the maize and soya beans grown in Kwara State is not sufficient to feed the Valentine Poultry feed mills. Our people can earn more money by increasing production as they are sure of ready market,” he said.
Responding to the briefing by Mr. Peit Dutoit of Valentine Chicken on the challenges the farmers face in their business, Emefiele said the apex bank will support the farmers with N2 billion agriculture loan facility at nine percent interest rate to support their expansion plan.
The CBN Governor who expressed satisfaction at what he described as the magic of a “genuine foreign direct investment” said what he witnessed during the tour of the farm was an eye opener and an indication that several opportunities abound in the Shonga Farms venture which could produce a value chain that can be tapped into for the benefit of the national economy.