Egg powder to the rescue of struggling poultry farmers – businessday news you can trust businessday news you can trust electricity examples

Olademiji Akinlolu runs a flourishing poultry farm. He is a 25-year old farmer based in Iseyin, Oyo State. Akinlolu started his poultry business three years ago while still an undergraduate. However, his constant efforts to sell his eggs often hit a brick wall, and this is becoming a yearly occurrence.

The reason for this is not farfetched. Egg glut is hitting the Nigerian market. It occurs between February and May, owing to increased production and low consumption of eggs within that period. This is when the poultry farmer makes losses and is desperate to find an escape route.

“After my tertiary education, I could not secure employment, so I decided to go into poultry farming because it is profitable. But since starting it, I have realised that raising layers for egg production has not been quite profitable owing to the yearly egg glut farmers’ experience,” Akinlolu said.

Nigeria is the largest producer of eggs in Africa with 10.3 billion eggs produced annually, data from the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) shows, but the nation is yet to fully take advantage of this situation by processing eggs into powdery forms.

“Each year, millions of tonnes of eggs are harvested in Nigeria but a good number of them go down the drains as wastages, due to the short shelf life and low demand for the product at a particular period farmers usually experience glut,” Francis Toromade, former group head, policy and strategy at Amo Group Farms, said.

Egg powder is used in production of oil-based emulsions. It is also used in preparation of foods such as ice-cream, bread, cakes, biscuits, noodles, and doughnuts. It can likewise be rehydrated to make dishes such as scrambled eggs and omelettes.

“The country has been losing a lot of money due to our inability to process eggs into powder. It has really been a tough year for poultry farmers, yet they still have to struggle with the annual egg glut,” said Kabiru Ibrahim, former president, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), in a telephone conversation with BusinessDay.

“There is low purchasing power for eggs in the country, especially in the Northern region, due to the economic downturn in the country. Nigerians are not consuming eggs like before and it has continued to create a glut in the market,” Dayo Gawati, managing director and chief executive officer, Fdot Farms in Ilorin, Kwara State said.

Eggs contain protein and are consumed in homes across the country, especially by the burgeoning middle-class. Eggs likewise serve as a cheap source of protein for young Nigerians between the ages of five and 40, which constitute over 60 percent of the country’s 198 million population.

The high cost of key inputs such as poultry feeds and vaccines across the country has continued to frustrate farmers’, a development experts say may threaten the country’s livestock production and the diversification drive of the government.

Nigeria, Africa most populous nation, needs more than one million metric tonnes of poultry products annually to meet local demand. Figures from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), shows that Nigeria farmers are only able to produce 504,657 metric tonnes in 2016.

Despite the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) strongly warning against the consumption of imported poultry products and threatening to take action against smugglers or dealers found with the banned products, these products have continually been found in the Nigerian market in high volumes.

Imported poultry products, especially chicken and turkey, have been identified as causative agent in non- communicable diseases (NCDs) and antibiotics resistance. Some of these health conditions include hypertension, kidney disease, and cancer, experts say.

“Over 1million tons of chicken are smuggled into the country yearly. If these smuggled chickens are produced in the country, there will be jobs. But now these jobs are exported to the countries these chickens are imported from,” Toromade said.

Despite the large volume of eggs produced in Nigeria, the country has only one firm that is currently processing eggs into powder. Answer Industries Limited, makers of Karakara Chicken Egg Powder, is the only player in Nigeria and West Africa egg powder market.

“We produce a ton of egg powder per day using between 3,400 and 4,000 crates of eggs per day. The demand for the powder is very high as we have a lot of food and beverage companies patronising us,” said Samuel Sewoniku, director of general operations, Answer Industries Limited.

The business is viable and suitable because eggs in powder form are more durable, stable, portable and applicable for multiple usages in various food and beverages industry, military establishments and production of fast foods, instant baby formula, beverage and health products; athletes’ and body building foods, several value added products including mayonnaise.