Obasanjo Decries Poultry Import Ban Reversal, Warns Against Border Opening

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News in brief:
- Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo strongly criticised the CBN’s decision to lift the forex ban on poultry product importers, expressing concerns over its adverse effects on local poultry farmers’ investments.
– CBN had said the move aims to boost forex market liquidity, is met with resistance from poultry producers who fear an influx of imported products impacting prices and livelihoods, while Obasanjo advocates for bolstering local production to meet national demands for food security and economic growth.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed strong disapproval of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent decision to lift the ban on foreign exchange (forex) access for importers of poultry products and 42 other items.

Obasanjo’s statement was part of the news coverage of the 2023 Poultry Summit, themed Poultry Production: A Foundation for Food Security and National Development. He warned of the detrimental impact the policy reversal could have on the investments of local poultry farmers.

The CBN, in October 2023, announced its intention to boost liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market by allowing importers of the previously restricted items to freely purchase forex at official rates.

This move has raised concerns among poultry producers, who fear a surge of imported poultry products flooding the market, potentially driving down prices and undermining their livelihoods.

Obasanjo vehemently opposed the opening of Nigeria’s borders for poultry imports, and said that the government needs to bolster local production to meet national consumption demands instead. He highlighted the poultry industry’s potential for poverty reduction, wealth creation, and employment generation, particularly at the small, medium, and large-scale levels.

The former president asserted that when the poultry industry is thriving, it would trickle down the value chain, including impacting maize and soybean farmers as regards feed, pharmaceutical companies producing medication for the birds, and more.

Meantime, in his remarks, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Aliyu Abdullahi, urged all industry stakeholders to collaborate in ensuring the nation’s self-sufficiency and prosperity in poultry production. He agreed that the industry is significant in addressing malnutrition, particularly among children.

Despite the challenges posed by the import ban reversal, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) remains optimistic about the industry’s future growth, particularly with the anticipated launch of the Nigeria Agricultural Development Fund (NADF). Conversely, the association’s president, Sunday Ezeobiora, called for a ban on soybean exports to safeguard the poultry industry from potential collapse.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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