Kwara governor backs strict enforcement of ban on importation of poultry products

Kwara Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called for stricter enforcement of the ban on importation of poultry products into the country, to boost the nation’s economy. 
He made the call in Ilorin, while declaring open a one-day seminar on, “Impact of smuggled Poultry products on the economy and health of Nigerians,” organised by the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN).
The governor said that there was a need to ban importation and stop smuggling of the products to protect the health of the citizens. “There is an urgent need to stem the importation of frozen poultry to protect, as well promote  Nigeria’s poultry sector; the environmental and health implications of imported meat are no less grave. 
“Imported frozen turkey and chicken are unwholesome meat, which have long term, devastating effects on the health of consumers,” he said.
The governor added that imported frozen meat accounted for over 2.5billion dollars in foreign exchange and a loss of more than one million jobs opportunities annually. 
Ahmed also said that Nigeria’s poultry sector was currently responsible for 25 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has the potential to create employment for five million Nigerians.
“The net impact of this is the gradual emasculation of local businesses, resulting in unemployment and stunting growth. Similarly, smuggling of contraband items drains our national income, retards local businesses and often results in the demise of our industries.
“Some may wonder if we have the local capacity to fill the supply gap that may be created by this ban on importation of frozen meat,” said Ahmed.
The Governor, however, was of the view that given the country’s entrepreneurial spirit, population and renewed interest in agriculture, Nigerians had the internal capability to produce all the meat the people needed locally.
It was the governor’s view that the ban on importation of poultry products would lead to vast economic opportunities that would be created along the poultry value chain.
These, the governor said, included crop farming, processing, storage, haulage and retailing, as a result of the expected increase in demand in locally-produced poultry.
“The implication of this demand for maize, for example, is that, based on our demand-driven approach to agriculture, anyone cultivating the crop once the ban is enforced, is assured of a ready market for their produce,” he added. 
Ahmed, therefore, called on the Federal Government to implement the policy adjustments necessary to protect the poultry sector and boost the economy.
In his welcome address, National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria, Ezekiel Ibrahim, lamented that over 1. 3 metric tons of poultry was smuggled into the country.
He appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of poultry products into the country.
Ibrahim was of the view that poultry farmers in the country were not aversed to foreign investors wishing to invest in poultry, but they must come to the country to invest.
“We welcome foreign investors, but we will not allow smuggling of poultry products into the country,” Ibrahim added. 
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for paying compensations to poultry farmers, whose chicken were destroyed by avian influenza (FLU). The national president called on the Kwara State Government to extend agriculture loan to civil servants, so that they could venture into farming.

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