Forum Institutional

5 ways to strengthen Nigeria's poultry supply chain

Strengthening the poultry supply chain in Nigeria could protect more than 25 million jobs.

Strengthening the poultry supply chain in Nigeria could protect more than 25 million jobs. Image: Unsplash.

Adegboyega Oyedijo
Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management, University of Leicester
Temidayo Akenroye
Associate Professor of Supply Chain & Analytics, University of Missouri-St. Louis
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  • Nigeria’s poultry industry is worth $4.2 billion, according to the UNFAO.
  • Shortages of maize, which is in chicken feed, are putting the industry at risk.
  • These five measures can help strengthen Nigeria's poultry supply chain.

The poultry value chain comprises of a network of stakeholders involved in raising, processing and selling the chickens that consumers eat from farm to table. In Nigeria, the poultry industry is known for having relatively high levels of commercialisation, which has led to its recognition as one of the most prevalent types of agribusinesses in the country. The UNFAO estimates that the value of the chicken industry is roughly $4.2 billion, making it one of Nigeria's major industries after the services sector. For a large percentage of Nigeria’s population, chicken is an important source of protein.

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Although Nigeria's agriculture sector grew by 1.3% in 2022-2023 and makes up about 10% of the country's GDP, many supply chain participants in the poultry industry (such as producers and wholesalers) are experiencing a decline in their operations and financial strength. Some of these problems are due to current inflationary pressures, climate change, growing production and transportation costs, insecurity, etc. However, one major issue is the scarcity of essential raw materials utilised in the process of chicken production which has been negatively impacting supply capacity.

Challenges in the poultry supply chain in Nigeria

Maize, soybeans and medicines are just a few of the necessary inputs for chicken production. For example, antibiotics are usually administered to the chickens to prevent, control and treat disease. Nigeria also used 50% of its maize harvest for animal feed between 2005-2010, with 98% of that harvest going to the poultry industry. But, maize, the most important ingredient in chicken feed, is in short supply in Nigeria.

The high cost of feeds’ primary ingredients, rising transport costs, ongoing insecurity in some regions of Nigeria, the effects of climate change (e.g. flooding), have made maize farming more challenging. Poultry farmers also have a limited cropping capacity, restricted to only two cropping seasons per calendar year. Maize is also utilised for a variety of industrial applications, such as the manufacturing of ethanol or syrup, contributing to demand beyond the poultry sector.

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Several African countries also have a shortage of US dollars which hampers the purchasing power of farmers, hence limiting their capacity to purchase essential inputs needed throughout the poultry value chain. The Nigerian poultry sector relies heavily on imported micronutrients for feed formulation and medications, essential to maintaining the health and welfare of animals. As a result of the high currency rate that Nigeria maintains against the dollar, poultry producers in the country are currently having difficulties affording rising feed additive costs.

The soaring price of energy in recent years is another important concern. In Nigeria and many other African countries, farms typically generate their own electricity. Electricity is needed to run feed mills, lab duties and the incubator and hatcher. When the cold chain is interrupted due to power outage, it might lead to chickens becoming degraded and wasted, and preventing the implementation of cutting-edge technological solutions.

Another major issue is Nigeria’s inadequate business regulation. For instance, there is a lack of ISO-certified enterprises in Nigeria's poultry supply chain, and the value chain is not regulated on a national level. Currently, the bulk of chicken products produced in Nigeria don’t meet international standards and cannot be exported, preventing benefiting from exports to other nations.

Here's how to strengthen the poultry supply chain:

1. Boost local production of feed formulation for commercial purposes

Nigeria has enough acreage to improve maize yields, but there is an urgent need to promote commercial production of essential ingredients and additives for making animal feeds. Local production of nutritional formulation, feed additives/ingredients and other animal feed processing raw materials will require additional investment.

2. Invest in renewables and energy-efficient technology

Energy independence, affordable electricity and long-term job stability can only be achieved through the use of renewable sources. This is important because power affects almost all aspects of the poultry industry, including managing procedures in slaughterhouses, maintaining temperatures in cold storage facilities and packaging different chicken parts to increase value. Although the new president has disclosed his intention to drive forward the country’s adoption of clean energy technologies, more concrete actions are needed to translate the rhetoric into reality.

3. Regulation and governance of agri-food value chains

Supply chain operations must be regulated ethically to resolve pricing discrepancies in the upstream and midstream activities of the poultry sector. The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have traditionally regulated Nigerian foods and products, but their oversight does not guarantee transparency and traceability along the entire value chain. When regulatory entities work separately, irrational regulations and duplicate enforcement result. The government must set rules for the entire food value chain, from farm to fork.

4. Improve food cold chain management

Optimising cold chain capacity for product storage and transportation of fresh farm products to the last mile. The safety and quality of chickens produced in the country are compromised if temperature monitoring and maintenance logistics systems are insufficient to get them to consumers. In Africa, on average, 50% of the food produced is wasted due to inadequate temperature-controlled storage facilities. Food and nutrition security in Nigeria is threatened by a lack of access to cold chains, and agricultural progress is hampered as a result.

5. Digitalise the poultry industry

Digitalising Nigeria’s poultry sector is necessary for increasing efficiency and production. Agriculture 4.0 has enormous potential to improve the country's supply chain governance and traceability by streamlining data collection, storage and sharing. This would help the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development implement its new National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy successfully. We also recommend establishing a National Centre for Poultry Technology Research to provide timely applied research and education to improve Nigeria's poultry industry's production, food safety and profitability.

Supporting the poultry industry

By strengthening the poultry supply chain, it may be possible to protect more than 25 million jobs, prevent food insecurity and boost local and regional economies in Nigeria and throughout Africa.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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