Poultry famers chart way forward

  Last Updated: Thursday 16th of April 2009 12:08:00 PM +0800HKT

Poultry farmers and other stakeholders in the poultry sector of the agricultural industry gathered in Ibadan for a seminar on poultry production.
The seminar had in attendance renown poultry production and management experts drawn from different parts of the world like South_Africa, Austria, Germany and USA.

Addressing poultry farmers at the seminar Dr. Rick Kleyn of Specsfeed, a South Africa feed producing company, said no poultry farmer should cut corners when it comes to feed if they want maximum performance from their birds.
According to the expert, “poultry feed should be balanced and should not lack any of the four major components namely; water, energy, nutrients which include; protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as non_nutritive additives.
Water, he emphasised, is very fundamental as it is needed for life support.

“Water is the fundamental nutrient and without it, poultry business cannot thrive or flourish. Not only that, poultry farmers cannot even achieve anything because 70 per cent of the body of a bird is made up of water.
Dr. Kleyn also advised poultry farmers not to starve their birds of clean water, adding that the mistakes many poultry farmers in developing countries often make is to believe that the provision of large quantity of water to birds leads to fungal attack, cold or the development or invasion of disease_causing organisms into poultry houses, whereas, such a belief is totally wrong.

“Birds consume twice as much water as they do feed. If birds for certain reasons cannot or refuse to drink water, definitely, they cannot consume their feed. Therefore, poultry farmers should cultivate the habit of serving clear, enough water to birds,” he emphasised.

The expert from Specsfeed, South_Africa also counselled poultry farmers in Nigeria not to give cheaper or poor quality feeds to birds because often times, a cheap feed will not contain all the required components necessary for good growth and development in birds. Hence, farmers should not expect good profits.

For Dr. Denis Giroudaux, another poultry production and management specialist from the Biomin GmbH, Austria, who gave a lecture on the topic: “Mycotoxin risk Management in Poultry Feed for Profitability,” he enlightened farmers on the need to prevent fungal growth in poultry house, stressing that mycotoxins are toxins produced by fungi which could endanger the lives of birds.
“There is no save level for mycotoxins, therefore, poultry farmers should not encourage any habit or activities that could encourage or lead to fungal growth in poultry houses,” he warned.

He also highlighted the effects of mycotoxins in poultry house to include impaired feathering, in none_homogeneous flock, delayed sexual maturation, as well as lowered semen volume and mild anaemia in male birds.
Other effects of allowing fungal growth (mycotoxins) in poultry houses include decline in hatchability, embryonic deaths, liver disorder and kidney damage which often result in death, as well as increased water consumption.

Welcoming the poultry production experts both from within and outside the country, as well as poultry farmers in Nigeria , the convener of the programme who is also the managing director of the Nutrivitas Limited, Chief Simeon Ohwofa, said commercial poultry production in the country, has grown through various stages in the last 30 years and as such, deserved proper and regular attention.

According to him, “between 1982 and 1986, Nigeria has a commercial poultry population that could consume over three million tons of feed per annum. However, this fell to about 300,000 tons between 1992 and 1996 due to several factors some of which include poorly conceived and implemented agricultural policies that resulted in the scarcity of raw materials and consequently poor quality feeds, as well as the slow rate of appreciation and application of modern technologies.”

Chief Ohwofa who is also the director of O.M. Simons Nigeria Limited, Lagos, stated that the total feed production is approximately 1.5 million tons as at today, stressing that it may be difficult for the Nigeria feed industry to grow in 2009 considering some of the somersault policies of the federal government.

He further highlighted the failure of the government on agricultural policies by comparing Nigerian and Brazilian animal feed production and poultry meat consumption. “Brazil had human population of 157.5 million in 1996, while Nigeria had 115 million. However in 2008, the feed production of Brazil was approximately 53.1 million tons and Nigeria was merely about 1.5 million tons. But Brazil’s feed production is expected to grow to 59 million tons in 2009. But the big question is: Will Nigeria feed industries grow in 2009 at all?,” he asked.

Moreover, Chief Ohwofa tasked the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) to live up to their responsibilities by regularly organising seminars for members, especially a poultry summit, once in three years in order to have a forum where proper evaluation of the industry performance in terms of production, market situation, growth, employment generation and of course, meeting the challenges of food security would be carried out.

“To start with, the association should immediately commission a marketing research agency to find scientific reasons responsible for the perennial egg gluts that have become a permanent feature of the poultry industry,” he concluded.

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