The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Tuesday said the Federal Government was ready to distribute 7,500 metric tons of maize to poultry farmers across the country.
The Minister of State, FMARD, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this at the 2016 Poultry Summit held in Lagos. Lokpobiri said that this was part of government’s effort to lessen the lack of raw materials in the sector. According to Lokpobiri, other areas of collaborating with the association and farmers in general like access and affordability of credit would be addressed soon.
“Part of the support we are giving not only to poultry sector but to every sector of agriculture is to make credit affordable and very accessible. “The present commercial interest rate is very high and nobody can survive under such. “Government is trying to set up N750 billion agriculture funds for farmers. “We are giving them all the support they need, the biggest challenge we know is raw materials that is why Federal Government is distributing 7,500 metric tons as support to poultry farmers. “We know that is not enough but we have to start from somewhere.
We do not even have enough in the Strategic Grain Reserves,’’ he said. The minister urged poultry farmers to access the various farmers’ funds by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria at a single digit interest rate of 9 per cent. Lokpobiri said that the country is expected to be 450 million populations in the next 10 years and the cost of feeding would increase, so we needed to start investing in agriculture. According to him, government is aware that smuggling is a major challenge and we are in talks with customs to create an enabling environment and curb smuggling. “An enabling environment to ensure increased production because, what we are consuming is more than what we presently produce and so once we stop smuggling. “We know that this is one sector than can also create a huge number of jobs for our teeming youths,” the minister said. The annual poultry summit was held every year to bring stakeholders in the sector to deliberate on the challenges faced in the sector and the way forward.