Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has assured poultry farmers that the Federal Government is planning an intervention scheme to rescue the sector from decline.
The Acting President was speaking on Friday with representatives of the poultry industry at the Presidential Villa. The intervention is part of an urgent effort by the federal government to address challenges in the agricultural sub-sector in line with its policy on self-sufficiency in food production.
He said the industry should be a major plank of the agriculture sector and as such the Buhari administration would ensure that it got help regarding the challenges being faced by operators of the sub-sector.
In his remarks, Ayoola Oduntan, the President, Poultry Association of Nigeria, noted that poultry presently contributed 25 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product of the Nigerian economy amounting to N1.6 trillion.
He added that Nigeria was rated as the number one egg-producing nation and number four in poultry meat in the continent. The poultry sub-sector is said to generate over 14 million direct and indirect jobs in the country.
Present at the meeting were the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, and Agriculture and Rural Development Minister of State, Heineken Lokpobiri.
Others were the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali, and the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Mr. Lokpobiri later told State House correspondents that the ministry would embark on aggressive maize and soya bean cultivation to produce surplus of poultry feed input.
“What we have is that we are going to develop a programme that will deliberately grow more maize which will satisfy not only our local market but the international market. We have a demand from Algeria and some other countries. They are saying that if we are able to grow two million metric tons and above for them they are going to construct a rail line to Kano to come and buy’’
The minister also said that the government was also planning to address the loss suffered by poultry farmers during the outbreak of Avian Influenza. He said the government had paid some farmers who were victims of the loss but still had outstanding N1.7 billion to pay.