The Guardian (Nigeria)

‘Why we are investing in the poultry industry value-chain’

- Stories by Femi Adekoya

CONTRARY to concerns raised by local poultry farmers about facing stiff competitio­n with the sudden entrance of Olam Group in the sector, the group has explained that its investment­s are in the value-chain and not related to commercial broiler growing and selling of live birds.

Indeed, the firm explained that its investment seeks to bridge the demand gap Day-old Chicks (DOC), and Feed business, while providing technical farm management support to all categories of farmers.

Olam’s N30 billion poultry feed mills and hatchery farms in Kaduna were inagurated in 2017, by President Muhammadu Buhari, primarily to produce poultry feeds and chicks for local poultry farmers.

Local farmers had expressed concerns that the company was using its resources to manipulate the market and that soon, many poultry farmers would close down because nobody will invest in the sector.

However, Olam noted that it has not built any layer

farm and neither does it intend to build any.

“Since Olam is in DOC and Feed business, we sell and provide technical and farm management support to all category of farmers, including some large farmers. We also support the revival of moribund farms, in order to put the investment­s made by the local Nigerian farmers, entreprene­urs to productive use, and generate employment for the local community.

“Last year, we received a request from specific moribund layer farm to help revive its operation. Olam helped the local Nigerian farmer to revive the farm by providing technical support and farm management processes.

“Olam is concerned about the low per capita egg consumptio­n impacting small-hold farmers. We suggest PAN should start a media campaign to promote egg usage with support from all members, and we will be more than willing to contribute towards it. We would wholeheart­edly work with PAN, farmers and all other concerned bodies in this endeavour”, the firm added.

It would be recalled that the Ogun State Government had recently charged poultry farmers to forge a strong alliance to check the instabilit­y in the price of poultry feeds in the country.

Olam also explained that it introduced laser beak trimming and full Hatchery vaccinatio­n and provided this for all its DOC at no additional cost.

“This resulted in considerab­le savings in on-farm vaccinatio­n, and beak trimming costs, and reduction in mortality.

“Through market surveys done by our field veterinari­ans, we found that most small farmers struggled due to lack of working capital to help them with proper rearing of the young birds. Recognisin­g this lapse, Olam introduced its Point-of-lay (POL) in the market, by reviving moribund farms. This enabled the farmer to provide employment to the community surroundin­g these farms”, it added.

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