The persistent importation of chicken and eggs into Nigeria has become a source of worry to experts in agriculture. They are urging the government at all levels to integrate rural women and youths into poultry business.
Speaking at the launch of African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) in Nigeria recently, a lecturer in the Department of Animal Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun state, Prof. Funso Sonaiya, described the training and empowerment of rural dwellers as the best way of reducing poverty and improving food production.
Delivering a paper on ‘Chicken Genetics Resources and Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in Nigeria’, Sonaiya said “a few chickens can be a step towards food security and poverty eradication in the rural areas.”
ACGG Programme leader, International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopia, Dr. Tadelle Dessie, said the vision of the organisation is to catalyse public-private partnerships for increasing small-holder chicken production and productivity growth as a pathway out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.
However, the federal Ministry of Agriculture has restated its commitment towards supporting poultry business in the rural areas in order to ensure food security as well as put an end to the importation of poultry products into Nigeria.
The representative of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Aderiye Adefemi, noted that there has been a ban on the importation of chicken and eggs, assuring that there is no plan to lift the ban by the government.
Commending the ACGG for beaming their searchlight on the plight of village women and youths, Adefemi promised that the government is ready at all times to support any programme that would improve the standard of living of Nigerians.