By Chris Njoku
Poultry farmers in Cross River have alleged that the cost of rearing chickens quadrupled in 2023 due to different factors.
This was disclosed by Mrs Grace Ochang, a poultry farmer in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Friday in Calabar.
Ochang who said in previous years, she used to have over 500 birds ready to be sold during the Christmas season, noted that for 2023, she had only reared 100 for the market because of the cost of rearing the birds.
“For this Christmas, I only have 100 birds ready to be sold because of how difficult it is to rear the birds at present.
“The amount for rearing 100 birds in 2023 would have comfortably taken care of 400 to 500 birds some years ago because feeds which is a major component of the process have risen from about N3,000 some years ago to over N14,000,” she said.
Speaking further, she said for the 2023 Christmas festivities, her full-grown broiler chicken would be sold for N10,000 because that was the only way she could cover her expenses.
She also said another challenge was the hike in price of day-old chicks which was between N800 and 850 before the Christmas season and would drop after the Yuletide.
She added that it was becoming more and more difficult to rear the birds due to the increase in the cost of production.
On his part, Mr Simon Ogbaji, a Consultant with Cross River’s Ministry of Livestock, said the hike in the cost of chicken in the state was as a result of the high cost of feeds.
Ogbaji said although the state produced maize it was not in commercial quantity that could service the feed production sector.
He said the state does not produce soybean but producing maize commercially would have helped reduce the price of poultry feeds in the market because it was a major ingredient in poultry feeds.
“Today to rear a chicken to maturity, you can’t spend less than N5,000 to N7,000, this means that a mature chicken cannot be sold for less than N7,000 in the market,” he said.
Similarly, a Rice Dealer, Mr Joseph Akwaji, said a 50-kilogramme bag of local rice was sold for between N49,000 and N50,000 in Cross River.
Akwaji said the same quantity was sold for about N46,000 in the first week of December when rice was harvested in the state.
He said although the increase in demand for the product in the festive season caused an increase in its price, the high cost of transportation following the increase in fuel price and the scarcity of cash in circulation were other issues.
“Few weeks ago fuel was sold for N600 as of today, it is almost N700 in most states coupled with the issue of little cash in circulation, we are back to buying our currency again from Point of Sale (POS) agents.
“This is because the banks are not giving out cash, all these were affecting business activities in the state,” he said.