Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara has called for stricter enforcement of the ban on importation of poultry products into the country to boost the nation’s economy.
Ahmed made the call on Tuesday in Ilorin while declaring open a one day seminar on “Impact of smuggled Poultry products on the economy and health of Nigerians”.
the seminar was organised by Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN).
The governor said there was need to ban importation and stop smuggling of the products to protect the health of the citizens.
“There is urgent need to stem the importation of frozen poultry to protect as well promoting Nigeria’s poultry sector, environmental and health implications of imported meat are no less grave.
“Imported frozen turkey and chicken are unwholesome meat, which have long term, devastating effects on the health of consumers,” he said
The governor added that imported frozen meat accounted for over 2.5billion dollars in foreign exchange and a loss of more than one million jobs opportunities annually.
Ahmed also said that Nigeria’s poultry sector was currently responsible for 25 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has the potential to create employment for five million Nigerians.
“The net impact of this is the gradual emasculation of local businesses, resulting in unemployment and stunting growth.
“Similarly, smuggling of contraband items drains our national income, retards local businesses and often results in the demise of our industries.
“Some may wonder if we have the local capacity to fill the supply gap that may be created by this ban on importation of frozen meat,” Gov Ahmed added.
The Governor, however, was of the view that given the country’s entrepreneurial spirit, population and renewed interest in agriculture, Nigerians have the internal capability to produce all the meat the people needed locally.
Ahmed added that ban on importation of poultry products will lead to vast economic opportunities that will be created along the poultry value chain.
These, the Governor said, include crop farming, processing, storage, haulage and retailing as a result of the expected increase in demand in locally-produced poultry.
“The implication of this demand for maize, for example, is that, based on our Demand Driven approach to agriculture, anyone cultivating the crop once the ban is enforced is assured of a ready market for their produce,” he added.
Ahmed, therefore, called on the Federal Government to implement the policy adjustments necessary to protect the poultry sector, boost economic growth and boost the economy.
In his welcome address, National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Mr Ezekiel Ibrahim lamented that over 1. 3 metric tons of poultry was smuggled into the country.
He appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of poultry products into the country.
Ibrahim was of the view that poultry farmers in the country were not averse to foreign investors wishing to invest in poultry, but they must come to the country to invest.
“We welcome foreign investors, but we will not allow smuggling of poultry products into the country,” Ibrahim added
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for paying compensations to poultry farmers whose chicken were destroyed by Avian Influenza (FLU).
The national president called on Kwara Governor to extend Agriculture loan to civil servants for them to venture into farming.