If there was any year when poultry farming was practiced at an all time low…then the events of the poultry farming year 2017 will be one that many poultry farmers including the big players would never wish to experience again.
It was a year full of chicken farmer’s complaints, low patronage, losses, little profit/break even making, high costs of production, lack of government support, poor agric policy implementations and not forgetting a lack of provision of support by the government especially during the period of high cost of maize.
A year where the rising cost of maize was at an all time high of around #160-#175,000 per tonne. The consequential effect on the cost of feed was inevitable. Considering the fact that maize takes up about 60% of the total cost of feed composition, it was almost difficult for majority of poultry farmers to break even as the same feed takes up about 90% of the running cost in poultry business.
In reality, A farmer who buys a bag of feed at #4250 as against the #2500/#2700 being sold a couple of months earlier would hardly make any profit if at all his production maintains a high percentage while raising his birds.
In addition, producers of day old chicks and hatcheries where not left out as patronage was so low that chicks were being sold at the rate of #30-#50 as against the average rate of #150-#200 In 2016.
Another not so good experience was the high rate at which farms were closing down..It was very obvious that the sky rocketed cost of feed ingredients especially maize played a huge role in the close down of farms , particularly those who couldn’t continue to run at a loss. This all culminated in the scarcity of spent layers during the December 2017 festive season!
In fact it isn’t strange to say that the extreme high cost of maize which is the major ingredient in feed diet resulted to the close down of most of the poultry farms being run by farmers. With a tonne of maize selling as high as #160,000 and most poultry diets containing about 60% of maize, a farmer with 10,000 birds who formulates his own feed will need to spend an average of #160/kg on 600kg of maize which translates to #96,000 on maize alone!
So the generic and widespread challenges faced in the poultry industry during the farming year of 2017 all revolved around the cost of maize as the major contributing factor.
In conclusion, though the initial intention of writing this article was really to focus on the overall scorecard on the poultry industry in Nigeria during the year 2017, but there is no doubting the fact the high cost of maize which consequently affected the cost of feed was the backbone of the not so good experience of poultry farmers in Nigeria in the year 2017.
Hopefully ,the year 2018 which has so far started on a good note for poultry farmers and will definitely be a better experienced poultry farming year for chicken farmers in Nigeria as a whole. And truly , it has actually been!