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Nigerians may lose 10,000 jobs, experience hunger in 2021 – Poultry farmers 

Akinwale Aboluwade
The Poultry Association of Nigeria in the South-West, on Tuesday lamented the high cost of maize warning that there may be 10,000 job losses in the country in the current year if urgent solution was not applied.
The association also warned against impending hunger in the land on the account of the various logjams being experienced as a result of the global pandemic, insolvency of the economy as well as the rising wave of insecurity in the country.
Among those at the press conference from the zone are Mr. Godwin Egbebe (Lagos), Mr. Bisi Babalola (Ekiti), Chief Hemi Olukiran (Osun), Mr. Damian Ogunbo, (Ondo), Mrs. Blessing Alawode (Ogun), Mr. Gbemisoye Agboola (Oyo) and Mr. Ojo Akinwunmi (Kwara).
While addressing a press conference at the Nigerian Union of Journalists‘ Press Centre, Iyaganku Ibadan on Tuesday, the General Secretary, of the poultry association, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi, pointed that there was a sharp shortfall in rainfall as well rate of cultivation.
The later, he said, was occasioned by incessant attacks on farmers by herdsmen in the region among other factors.
He urged governors in the South-West on the need to intensify efforts to encourage the cultivation of maize in their respective states just as done in the case of rice production.
He stressed further that the governors should support maize farming in order to avert the impending food shortage and well as the crisis of jobs in the country.
The farmers lamented that most of their members were indebted due to the unfavourable clime adding that many of their colleagues had already closed down their businesses as a result of the high cost of feeds.
Odunsi said, “There should be strong collaboration between the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, the Soya Beans Farmers Association of Nigeria and PAN to determine their needs and assess the yield to allow for proper planning. In order to guide against the impending hunger in the land, the governors need to act now.
“If the government fails to act now, the industry may suffer total collapse soon and that would be too devastating. If urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains, especially maize and soya, we fear that our industry may suffer a total collapse.
“About July, 2020, the price of maize, due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by poultry sector and other users, rose from a price of N105,000 – N165,000. In the midst of this hike in price, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize which further drove the price to as high as N185,000 per ton.”
It will be recalled that only recently, the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, raised the alarm on the impending food crisis in the country in view of the series of attacks on farmers by some killer herdsmen and the destruction of plantations across the country.
The maize farmers had called for drastic action from government and other stakeholders in the country to arrest the situation before it goes out of hand.

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