Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), says it stands to lose about N3 trillion over government’s restriction order on vehicular interstate movement to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
The PAN President, Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim, who disclosed this during a press conference on Friday in Maiduguri, said the measure was à threat to the country’s food security.
He said that food security had a major role in national development and sustainability of the economy.
He said that Nigeria was currently not secured in terms of production because “the number of hungry Nigerians keeps increasing by the day’’.
“This includes other factors such as low food production, increasing population, herders crises, insecurity and post-harvest losses,” he said.
Ibrahim said that since food and protein were very essential to human health and survival, the government should lift the restriction on the movement of vehicles conveying such critical poultry products like Day Old Chicks, meat, eggs, poultry feeds and drugs, daily needed by all Nigerians.
“At the moment, we are facing the most difficult period of our national lives with the outbreak of COVID-19.
“We should, however, thank God for giving President Muhammadu Buhari the wisdom to initiate the policy of producing locally what we eat without which the food security of the country could have been threatened.
“We imagine what the situation could have been today if we were to rely on the import of basic food items when the major source of our revenue that is petroleum product has recorded setbacks at this period that the entire world system is in chaos, confusion and epidemic.
“While the above is considered as very urgent and utmost for the continued supplies of protein to Nigerians, we implore the government to also grant some palliatives to egg and day-old chick producers who are unable to sell commodities as a result of the lockdown.
“Not left out are also the input suppliers and other categories of farm service providers who are critical to the food security survival of the country.
“As an association of poultry producers, we are fully in support of Federal Government on all measures taken so far to improve the economic health of the nation and to curtail further spread of the deadly virus.
“We are in support of the closure of all the airports and the land borders,” he said.
Ibrahim appealed to poultry farmers across the country to observe bio-safety measures not only in their farms but in the entire poultry production value chain so that the poultry industry might not be confronted with any other challenge of the strange disease outbreak.