Stakeholders in the poultry industry converged at the Merit House in Abuja to discuss about the state of the poultry breeder stocks in Nigeria.
They were worried that, as things stand now, the poultry industry is hampered by the shortage of breeder stocks and would want to find ways out of the present holdup.
At the one-day meeting, convened by the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), the stakeholders present attempted to ascertain the veracity of the claim and prepare a common understanding of the problem in order to come up with a common position on the way forward.
Although Onallo S. Akpa said the federal government is taking some steps to address the situation, he confirmed to the gathering that, indeed, there is a shortage of poultry breeding stock, a situation that had affected many poultry enterprises significantly.
Four farms licensed
The records cited showed that the federal government had, in 2006, licensed and commissioned four farms to import pure lines and grand parent stock of poultry to resuscitate the poultry industry by expanding the national capacity for commercial day old chicks supply.
It appeared, however, that these farms have not lived up to expectation as the problem of shortage was still said to have persisted.
The farms are Obasanjo Farms Limited, CHI limited, S & D Limited and the National Animal Production Research Institute.
But at the last Wednesday meeting, it was pointed out that not much is known about the performance of these farms that were commissioned to bring in new genetics to keep the local industry going.
The signs are clearly that they have been so slow, and un-responsive, as demonstrated by a representative of the National Animal Production Research Institute, Shika, Zaira, who attended the meeting and spoke about the institute's plan to the multiply Shika Brown which is still awaiting funding.
Other licenses on hold
Another set of 17 farms were granted licenses to import grandparent stock of poultry some months ago by the federal government.
Before the orders were placed, the licenses were put on hold by the same federal government.
The Director of Federal Livestock Department, Dr. Joseph Nyager, tried to explain the situation, confirming that the federal government policy is to continue with the import restriction on poultry and poultry products.
The participants appeared unanimous in the call for an unbundling of NAPRI to enable it become more responsive to the livestock industry's demands and situations, particularly the poultry sub-sector.
They noted that the establishment of new research institutes for all livestock species will enhance livestock production and supply of milk, meat and eggs in Nigeria.
They expressed the need to certify more producers of pure lines and grandparent stocks of poultry that will be subject to regulation by the government.
In addition, they said the producers of commercial day old chicks will need to be regulated.
In particular, they called for a controlled lifting of the ban on importation of poultry breeder stock into Nigeria with conditions that the imports should be from countries certified free of bird flu at the time of placing the orders.