Poultry feed prices in Nigeria have increased by 164% in three years.

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The costs are felt daily in households as families pay more for chickens and eggs. A broiler now sells for between N5500 and N7000 against N1500 and N2500 in 2018, while a crate of eggs has gone up from N800 to N1800.

The average price of poultry feed in Nigeria has increased by at least 168 percent in the last three years, a huge increase that underlines the extent of food inflation in Nigeria in the last few years.

An average of 25 kilograms of poultry feed, made mainly from maize, soya, wheat and millet, rose from N3,600 in 2019 to N8,500 to N10,000 in July 2022, according to market research by the Center for Journalism Development and Innovation. (CJID).

The costs are felt daily in households as families pay more for chickens and eggs. A broiler now sells for between N5500 and N7000 against N1500 and N2500 in 2018, while a crate of eggs has gone up from N800 to N1800.

Food prices in Nigeria accelerated 20.6 percent from a year earlier in June, the fastest pace in 11 months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Headline inflation shot to 18.60 percent, a five-year high.

Prices of goods and services in Nigeria have skyrocketed under the influence of several factors. Inflation worsened in 2019 after the government closed borders to curb smuggling and boost production of rice and other staples. However, low domestic production has slowed supplies amid huge demand, which has dragged down prices. Pandemic lockdowns, foreign currency shortages, uncertainty, high fuel prices and, more recently, Russia’s war in Ukraine have complicated the issue.

Nigeria’s poultry industry, worth $4.2 billion according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is the main source of protein for more than 200 million people. However, the sector, which accounts for nine to ten percent of GDP, has struggled in the past three years and many operators have exited the business due to high costs. Farmers complain about high feed costs and traders complain about ever-increasing raw material costs.

“Poultry feed has tripled since I started the business in 2019, especially because security issues have prevented farmers from producing maize, which is the main ingredient in poultry feed,” said Juliet Ebere, a poultry farmer in Abuja.

Farmers say they need about a kilogram of starter feed to feed one broiler from the first to the third week. They need about 3 kg of starter feed for the next three weeks, and between weeks seven and eight, the broiler needs 2.5 kg of feed for feeding. This makes a total of 650kg or 26 bags of feed for 100 broilers – N247,000.Just four years ago it would have been N93,600.

Ephraim Christopher, a poultry feed dealer in Abuja, said a 25kg bag of feed costs N8500, N9500 ​​and N10,000 depending on the brand.
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“The situation really affected me; many farmers have gone out of business due to high feed costs. Initially, I used to sell about 100 or more bags of feed per day, but now I struggle to sell even 30 bags a day,” said Christopher.

Christopher said suppliers attributed the price increase to high costs of raw materials, transportation, insecurity keeping farmers in their fields and the lack of dollars needed to import maize – because Nigeria does not produce enough.

Anny Udo, a poultry farmer in Uyo, said the situation did not encourage her to continue in business even after the size of her poultry house was reduced.

“I am very discouraged by the increase in poultry feed prices. I used to buy feed at 3600 for a 25kg bag but now it is N9000 and above depending on the brand. Initially I had about 500 head on the farm but now I have reduced it to 200 head due to the high price of feed and I even hope to stop breeding once I can sell what I have now, maybe I will grow it seasonally according to the festivities,” said the lady Udo.

Nigeria continues to struggle with cereal shortages and relies on maize and wheat imports to meet local needs. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has made the situation worse, as the two countries are the world’s largest suppliers of wheat and other grains.

According to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nigeria’s maize production rose to 12.7 million tonnes in 2021 from 12.4 million metric tonnes in 2020. However, the country still lags behind, having imported 500,000 metric tons of maize within two years.

Sam Amadi, a governance and development analyst, said the situation would have huge implications for the country’s economy.

“There is a serious food crisis looming in Nigeria and the political class is not paying attention. The economic consequences of rising food prices, particularly rising feed prices, will include; increase in food inflation, increase in poverty rate and starvation on two sides,” he said.

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