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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it has so far invested some N35.9 billion in the country’s poultry industry, in an effort to close huge demand gap which continues to fuel smuggling from neighbouring Benin Republic.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said that the apex bank was prepared to check the smuggling by investing heavily in the poultry sub-sector and in turn meet the demand and conserve foreign exchange.
At a meeting with Vice-Chancellors on the University-Based Poultry Revival Programme, in Abuja on Monday, Emefiele said the country’s chicken population is about 165 million which produce approximately 650,000MT and 300,00MT of eggs and meat respectively.
“The demand situation is estimated at over 200m birds, while the demand for eggs and meat are about 790,000MT and 1,500,000MT respectively, thus leaving a huge demand gap which unfortunately, is met by smuggling,” said Emefiele who was represented at the event by
Joseph Nnanna, CBN Deputy Governor on Economic Policy.
Emefiele further reeled out figures which estimate that over 1.2 million MT of poultry meat is smuggled into Nigeria from Benin Republic by some unscrupulous Nigerians.
“This is really unfortunate, and we are poised to stop it,” he assured.
The governor also, raised the concerns that access to low cheap, long term funding was still a major to the country’s poultry industry, and must be resolved.
According to him, “The Central Bank of Nigeria, has, through interventions, such as the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, Real Sector Support Facility, etc been able to address the problem appreciably.
“For example, the sum of N35.9 billion has been released to 166 projects under Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, N507 million to 433 farmers and N238m for 112 projects under Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme.”
Emefiele announced that the CBN also recently financed the pioneer egg-powder production company in Nigeria to the tune of N2 billion under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement-Real Sector Support Facility (DCRR-RSSF) window.
He noted that the opportunities for the expansion of the poultry industry was enormous and should be utilized to the advantage of the nation’s economy.
But another major challenge is that “Per capita consumption of chicken is still very low at 2.5kg in Nigeria, when compared to Brazil and South Africa at 30kg and 40 kg respectively, while per capita consumption of eggs in Nigeria is 60 eggs per annum compared to 250 to 300 eggs per annum in most advanced countries.”
“The school feeding programme of the present administration also remains a huge potential yet to be fully tapped,” Emefiele said.
Sharing his optimism in a remark, Ezekiel Ibrahim, President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, said the CBN has been pragmatic in dealing with some of the key economic issues bedeviling the country, and that the interventions would help raise the much needed
productivity in the sub-sector.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja