Ankeli Emmanuel takes a look at the negative impact of border closure, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, on the over 50 poultry farm bussines in Sokoto State.
For those in the food and beverage sector, aside from natural occurrences, envisaging loss in a large proportion is minimal in their calendar because of the market demands.
This is more pronounced as most people venture into agric business, as an investment with little risk.
However, the population in every state is enough for the farmers to sell their produce unhindered.
Irrespective of this, poultry farmers in the Seat of the Caliphate enjoyed high patronage until the federal government closed it’s borders with neighbouring countries.
This development therefore led to the shortage of corn milled as chicken feeds.
It became worse with the outbreak of COVID-19 which forced economic cracks globally.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Friday, product and sales manager of Magatakarda Farms along Sokoto/ Birnin Kebbi road, Alhaji Zaharadden Ahmed Rabiu said COVID-19 has affected their farm seriously.
“We produce as much as 500 crates of eggs with 56 staff capacity before the COVID-19. We also supply eggs to states like Zamfara, Kebbi and even neighbouring Niger Republic”.
“But now, COVID-19 has reduced the egg production capacity to about 100 crates, hence, making us reduce our staff to 16. The price of feeds has also tripled”.
“Before COVID-19, we had 60,000 laying birds, which has reduced to 13, 000. My appeal however is that the federal government should try to look towards the direction of such farms that helps to reduce unemployment in the country”.
“The high cost of feed has reduced the production capacity. We get our feeds now from Plateau State. We get Vital food from them. Initially, we do buy from Olam in Kaduna but they increase prices at will and even without notifying customers, hence the need to look for an alternative”.
On his part, the manager of Ibrahim Gusau Farms and Allied Agro, Ibrahim Gusau said he started poultry business recently with 12 staff and 2,500 chickens.
Gusau, who noted that he gets about 120 creates per day, added that his challenge currently is the high cost of feeds.
“Though, we have the engine that grinds the feeds but our challenge is getting the corn to grind into feeds”.
“The border closure was behind the increment in chicken feeds. Prior to the closure, we did buy a bag of corn for N15,000 but now it has increased to N25,000”.
“Back then when the borders were opened, we bought a bag of corn between N8, 000 to N10,000”.
On how the birds consume feed per day, Gusau said, “We fed 1000 chickens with five bags of feed everyday”.
“Before COVID-19, we had about 5000 chickens but now, we have reduced it because of the high cost of feed”.
“There is high demand for chickens and eggs and we cannot meet up with such demands. Farmers from Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger Republic buy from us”, he added.