The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has said that lack of access to foreign exchange contributed largely to poor performance of farmers which almost drowned the dream of government of making the country sufficient in food production in 2017.
The Chamber observed that though the sector benefitted from the inward-looking disposition which the recession created in the economy that made local products more competitive due to weak naira and imports more expensive, the sector grappled with a number of challenges which constrained its growth during the year.
According to the LCCI director general, Muda Yusuf, acute scarcity of parent stock for Turkey severely constrained the capacity of poultry owners to expand the production of live turkey.
In his review of the of the sector for 2017, Yusuf said shortage of vaccines and micro nutrients for the production of fishmeal and other livestock feeds was very exorbitant and this he said contributed to the high cost of poultry products.
“The situation was further compounded by the Nigeria Customs Service that classified micro nutrients for the production of poultry feed as finished goods, rather than raw materials. Investors in the sector could not access foreign exchange at the official rate of N305 to the dollar.
Multiple government agencies still pose problems for importers of agricultural inputs at Lagos ports,” he noted.
Yusuf further said that farm machinery and equipment as well as agro-chemicals were not accessible by many farmers during the year as costs were prohibitive, and the expected support from the government (State and Federal) was not forthcoming.
and interest rate on loans for agricultural purposes was also prohibitive at between 25-30 per cent.