By; Chika Okeke
Earlier last week I did an article to highlight the possible root causes of the annual and persistent egg glut menace experienced in Nigeria by egg farmers.
In the article I had established that indeed egg glut crisis in Nigeria is real and not artificial. I had also pointed out that egg demand and consumption in Nigeria was indeed very low compared to other developed countries around the world.
My article went ahead to establish that the very low purchasing power of Nigerians combined with the near non-existent egg powder processing industry in Nigeria were the primary root causes for the low demand for eggs in Nigeria and by inference the precursor to egg glut crisis.
Therefore, in finding a solution to the egg glut crisis in Nigeria on the premise of my held theory of change as postulated in my earlier article, one would immediately assume that waving a magic hand on the above two primarily root causes would instantly put an end to the unfortunate economic threat.
However, while such magic hand in solving the two primary identified root causes would certainly bring an end to the menace, it would certainly assume a long term dimension in tackling them directly as they are.
In this remaining part of this article, I will be taking time to highlight and bring to public discourse some of the actions, programmes and policies that if pursued and implemented by relevant stakeholders in the short term and long term would assuredly once and for all drastically reduce and eliminate the annual egg glut phenomenon experienced in Nigeria.
Firstly, the Government at the Federal, state and local working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education at all levels in Nigeria, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) should scale up the National Home Grown school feeding programme to include egg as a key component of the meals served to school children at all public nursery, primary and secondary educational institutions in Nigeria.
In 2019, the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria had a budget of about N620 billion (over $1.5 billion). Also the National Social Investment Programme had claimed to have spent over N350 billion (over $1 billion) on various programmes which included the National Home School Feeding Programme in the last 3 years.
The Federal Government through relevant ministries, departments and agencies should therefore channel a large percentage of these expenditures in stimulating demand and consumption of egg and other major locally grown produce which ordinarily are out of the reach of poor Nigerians.
Egg consumption in Nigeria is largely driven by children and children related egg by-product. By so doing the Government at all levels would directly and indirectly stimulate egg consumption by children that hitherto wouldn’t have been possible due to parent’s low purchasing power and income.
Secondly, private sector companies should be encouraged and sensitised on taking up more corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes in the area of sponsorship and funding of the National Home Grown School Feeding programme that inculcates egg as a major meal component. CSR by private sector companies in this area would complement and sustain Government’s commitment and investment in Home School Feed such programmes.
Thirdly, poultry farmers and egg producers should be educated on how to adopt locally viable and cost effective feed formulations to reduce the cost of poultry feeds. Over dependence of poultry farmers on imported feeds will continue to result in high production cost for eggs and invariably high cost of egg for the citizenry.
Furthermore, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development urgently needs to provide a concrete plan and road map that would stimulate the development of egg powder processing industries across Nigeria.
The Government, rather than adopt a high import tariff plan for egg powder or even attempt to place a ban on its import should first roll out a sector development plan that would unlock financing at a highly competitive rate to investors to stimulate development of egg powder processing industry in Nigeria.
I will recommend and propose that the present administration borrow a leaf from the financing model implemented by then President Goodluck Jonathan administration in encouraging the setup of rice processing plants by local investors across the rice producing states in Nigeria as overseen by the then Minister, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
Most importantly, beyond the setup of egg powder plants with a special financing plan for investors, the Government should extend the anchor borrowers’programme to target poultry and egg farmers. This would ensure that egg farmers are provided with the required credit and loans to finance their production while directly anchoring and linking them to an egg powder processor- off takers.
Above all, the Government at all levels in Nigeria have a duty to conceive, develop, pursue and implement a concrete and viable economic master plan that would lift the citizens out of poverty and increase the per capita income and purchasing power of the ordinary Nigerian. Only then can egg demand and consumption in all its form be sustained in Nigeria.
Finally, after all the above steps have been taken, the Government should protect local egg producers and egg powder processors by implementing a marginal increase in the import tariff and duty on egg powder importation or totally place a ban on the importation of egg powders into Nigeria.
Chika Okeke is the Founder /Executive Director of Feed Africa Advocacy Network, an NGO with a focus on food security policy advocacy.
Find a link to the Part I of the article; https://feedafricaadvocacy.org/2019/09/30/rejoinder-a-personal-observation-of-the-egg-glut-trend-in-the-nigerian-poultry-market-a-silent-problem/