Agriculture: Border Closure, A Blessing To Poultry Farming In Ota
Agriculture is the art and science of cultivating the soil, growing crops and raising livestock. It includes the preparation of plant and animal products for people to use and their distribution to markets.
Suffice to say; agriculture provides most of the world’s food and fabrics.
In spite of the oil, agriculture remains the base of the Nigerian economy, providing the main source of livelihood for most Nigerians. The sector faces many challenges, such as; outdated land tenure system that constrains access to land, low level of irrigation development (less than 1 percent of cropped land under irrigation), limited adoption of research findings and technologies, high cost of farm inputs, poor access to credit, inefficient fertilizer procurement and distribution, inadequate storage facilities and poor access to markets have all combined to keep agricultural productivity low with high post-harvest losses and waste.
Though agriculture still remains the largest sector of the Nigerian economy and employs two-thirds of the entire labour force, the production hurdles have significantly stifled the performance of the sector.
Meanwhile, the land border closure with neighboring countries has helped Nigeria agriculture, since its commencement in August 2019.
According to the Poultry Association Of Nigeria(PAN), “the closure of Nigeria border by the Federal Government is currently reducing the smuggling of chicken into the country and will further cut this down by one million naira tones annually if the effort to stop smuggling is held continuously.
“This has, therefore, increased Nigerian capacity to produce homegrown poultry and also make local farmers’ life better in which lot of poultry farms are coming back on the stream and it has also improved the income of the farmers. Through this action taken by the government, Nigerians now have enough materials to produce poultry feeds.”
However, in an interview with the Oluomo of Ota, Aworiland, Hon. Chief Wahid Ola Bello on the ‘Impact of Border Closure on Agriculture In Ota’, he said, “Agriculture in Ota is becoming alien as an occupation because most of the land has been taken over by industries and homes, for the teaming population falling over from Lagos and beyond, owing to huge presence of the industrial activities, trade and commerce.”
Chief Waheed continued, “the policy would’ve made a lot of positive impacts, this few months of closure but the implementation of the policy denied the poultry farmers the accruables that it would have generated.
“But by and large, the few farmers in the business are benefitting greatly from the closure.”
He futher advised that, ‘if border closure has not been wrongly implemented, its sustainability will yield bountiful fruits in few years if the borders remain closed or such items as poultry products among other food stuffs remain a contraband’.
He added that, “the government will help a great deal if it stops window dress in its approach to helping, subsidizing or giving out long time loans to real Farmers and not portfolio Farmers or politicians or cronies of the civil servants”.
Chief Ola Bello also suggested that, ‘lassa fever would not have any effect on poultry farming, but in some other animal production such as keeping grasshoppers and rabbits may suffer severe set backs as our people are yet to come to terms that rats raised in farms are free of such viruses.’
Further more, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, former National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) stated that the closure will generate between 500 thousand and one million jobs within a two year period, adding that the local poultry industry has the capacity to produce enough chicken to satisfy local consumption and export around the continent but that Nigerians must be ready to support the industry to grow to enjoy the benefits.
“Now that the border has been closed we are doing more and we are also employing more people. In our sector alone we are able to employ 10 million people in Nigeria so the moment the border was closed on imported frozen foods, we are really enjoying. In no time there will be boom in production”, he said.
He added that over the next two years, a lot of farms will expand, and lot of new farm hands will be added and it will create a million jobs.
The effect of the border closure has also reflected on the flow of the operations along the value chain with supply of inputs, storage facilities, transportation/logistics, and value addition. The border closure made a great advantage to farmers by making a profit especially those involved in poultry farming.
Although, the increase in primary production would further translate into more food thereby enhancing food security. Nigerian livestock industry has organized for self-esteem in line with Global best practices.