Why Poul­try farms are fold­ing up – Offa monarch

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - From Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

The Olofa of Offa, in Kwara State, Oba Mufu­tau Gbadamosi Okiki­ola, Esu­woye II, is a poul­try farmer, in this in­ter­view, he speaks on the chal­lenges presently fac­ing the sec­tor.

You are a king, and also a poul­try farmer, what led you into it?

From year 2002, be­fore I be­came Olofa, I woke up one day and I said I can­not con­tinue as a rice dis­trib­u­tor and I was num­ber one in Lagos in terms of rice, sugar dis­tri­bu­tion through­out till 2010 but I felt the stress will be too much for me af­ter 50 years. One day, I was talk­ing to one of my friends, an im­porter of rice, who is an Amer­i­can that I needed to di­ver­sify my busi­ness and he ad­vised me to go into poul­try farming and promised to join hands with me. He did his cal­cu­la­tion and showed me the profit from it but it never worked like that.

I had a land in Iko­rodu which I showed him and he said I should start work­ing on the land that he was go­ing to US to bring money and equip­ment but never showed up but I started work on it and I have spent about N300 mil­lion on the land. I can­not stop it and by 2004 the birds had started lay­ing. I called some lo­cal doc­tors and one for­eign doc­tor to work on the farm. To­day, it is the big­gest poul­try in Lagos State.

My plan of leav­ing the mar­ket when I turned 50 was changed by God. With the poul­try in place, I left the mar­ket when I was 47years old. God has re­ally guided me be­cause if I hadn’t left rice busi­ness, only God knows what would have hap­pened now that the mar­ket has fallen.

What is your as­sess­ment var­i­ous agric poli­cies? of

What­ever agric pol­icy that can help us has been shouted on all this while and noth­ing has been dy­one. About 70 per­cent of poul­try farms in Nige­ria to­day have folded up be­cause maize now is about N130,000 per ton and any­thing above N50,000 per ton of maize is run­ning at loss. As maize price goes up, prices of other in­gre­di­ents also in­creased. If the gov­ern­ment can as­sist us on the price of maize, a lot of poul­try farm­ers will go back to busi­ness. Even in my farm, I have staff strength of 1800 and I am pro­duc­ing at 50 per­cent, I am plan­ning to lay off some staff. It is the Gov­er­nor of Kwara State that is en­cour­ag­ing me not to lay off my staff; that things will get bet­ter.

What spe­cific pol­icy would you rec­om­mend for gov­ern­ment that will help poul­try farming in Nige­ria?

Gov­ern­ment is just say­ing we should go back to the farm with­out any farm im­ple­ment. Be­fore now, in ev­ery vil­lage you will see trac­tors, bull­doz­ers, fer­tilis­ers, in­sec­ti­cides and other things but now you can­not see those things even at min­istries of agric. How do we go back to farm with­out those im­ple­ments that we will use to cul­ti­vate what will be enough for our lo­cal con­sump­tion and ex­port. Noth­ing is be­ing given to farm­ers and to get loan from banks, one has to present his or her dead grand­fa­ther to get the money.

What do you think gov­ern­ment can do to get the coun­try out of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion?

All the things I have said ear­lier do not ap­ply to poul­try farm­ers. What they will ben­e­fit from is to get our farm­ers to go and grow and make them avail­able to poul­try farm­ers. It is one thing to tell us to go back to the farm but I hope they help us with im­ple­ments that we will go and work with in the farm. Even the rice farming, only rich peo­ple can delve into it, the poor can­not dare it. There is no as­sis­tance from gov­ern­ment.

The Olofa of Offa, in Kwara State, Oba Mufu­tau Gbadamosi Okiki­ola, Esu­woye II

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