It was gathered that the Federal Government would enforce bio-security measures in the poultry industry and ensure that all unregistered poultry farms are closed down, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has said.
The minister said this when he received members of the National body of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Abuja.
He charged poultry farmers to be more disciplined on the issue of hygiene in the operations of their farms and urged them to always report incidences of diseases to avoid further losses.
Ogbeh said it is only by registering with government and the poultry association (PAN) that effective containment and control of outbreaks of diseases could be successful.
The minister also assured the poultry farmers about government’s resolve to revisit the issue of compensation by conducting a verification exercise to ensure the authenticity of claims by farmers affected by Avian Influenza, with a view to finding possible ways of paying.
He promised to take up the issue of multiple taxation and Value Added Tax (VAT) on maize with the Presidency, as it is affecting the production of poultry products in the country.
According to him, government may consider the release of part of the maize in the strategic reserve to support the poultry industry because the demand for maize has become very high.
Ogbeh explained that the Egyptians and Americans have found vaccines for Avian Influenza but government was still studying the effectiveness of the vaccines.
He said poultry farmers would be informed on government decision on the issue. On the restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), the minister said plans were ongoing to ensure that farmers owned the majority shares of BOA and even sat on the board of the bank.
This, he said, would enable the farmers’ draw more benefits. He said a dedicated website would soon be opened by government to educate Nigerians on the dangers and health implications of consuming smuggled goods.
Also in his remarks, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, described as unacceptable a situation where other countries export agroproducts and Nigeria imports.
He advised on the need to take the issue of food security seriously, adding that Research Institutes’ outcomes should be able to change the status of our country.
Responding, the National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, pledged the readiness of the association to work with the government and other relevant government agencies to produce affordable products for Nigerians.