The way forward for Nigerian Poultry Farmers now by Otunba ADEBAYO ODUNOWO
Below is an excerpts from the interview granted by OTUNBA ADEBAYO ODUNOWO to LIVESTOCK AQUA WATCH MAGAZINE
For the poultry farmers, this is the time for them to block all leakages on their farms. What they should be doing now is production efficiency.
They should use the feed that will give their birds the best performance, employ dedicated workers, supervise from time to time by making sure that everything is done at the right time, reduce pilfering to the barest minimum if it cannot be eliminated, and improve on general management, although these may look small but it has a buttery effect (small effort, big results).
They should take the right decision at the right time and the right thing at the right time, it is only then they can survive. If they continue in this fire brigade approach, it won’t help them at all which is why so many farms run their business with suppliers’ money.
Secondly, there is no unity of purpose among farmers. What do I mean by unity of purpose, for example if it has been agreed that egg should be sold at a particular price, you see these market women, they are very powerful you cannot just carry your birds to the market for sale because they will not allow it. Their market days are Tuesdays and Thursdays and there are numbers of birds that will be allowed to enter the market on the said days. If you miss those days, you will have to wait till the next week. They regulate their businesses so that they can continue to sell. The egg sellers in the market will hold meetings whereby they make decisions on what to do and what not to do.
Thirdly, farmers need to start marketing their eggs, they need to join forces with professional associations like the Nigerian Medical Association, Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, the Health Foundation. For example, the American Egg body they work in conjunction with their medical heart foundation. They endorse egg consumption but here in Nigeria our doctors are working against us because they don’t have the knowledge when it comes to our products. I remember clearly one of the lessons I learnt in biochemistry about fatty acid metabolism is that dietary cholesterol does not translate to blood cholesterol which I will never forget. I wonder how our doctors tell their patients with high blood pressure not to eat egg. Their advice should have been that they can consume only boiled eggs not fried eggs. Because of their advice, their patients will now begin to consume other foods which helps to speedily build block of cholesterol like meat pie, crackers, potato chips, fried chicken. In developed countries, when you go to their major hospitals they have general practitioners, consultants, nutritionist who recommends what the patient should be eating but here our own doctors are the all in all especially in the general hospitals. If poultry association of Nigeria decides that since we are selling unbranded eggs, they are going to set up an egg marketing board whose only job is to come up with strategies then every farmer will be required to pay a fee but they will refuse to pay; it has happened before.
In the south west, farmers that paid were not more than 20 even those that paid, under paid. I know how much Animal Care spends to market their product, I know how much my company spends to market its products and the same goes for every other company. If every company is marketing its products, why can’t farmers market their products?