Poultry farmers in Akwa Ibom state have bemoaned scarcity of day-old-chicks despite the existence of Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry limited with production capacity of 200000 per week.
Some of the poultry farmers expressed frustration over the logistic challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan, while the hatchery in the state inaugurated in 2016 is lying fallow.
One of the farmers, Effiong Okon, told newsmen that poultry farmers in the state has not had it so bad in the last 12 years in business.
“For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time in years that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non economic factors. And quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprices of owners of the means of production. There don’t seem to be any government regulation of the poultry industry, how, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day-old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes. For instance, in 2016, the government said it has constructed a hatchery, and the intention according to the government was to ensure availability of day- old chicks at affordable price to farmers. But quite unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result. Farmers are still getting their day-old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying day- old chicks at affordable prices, but from all indications the acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. The day- old chicks we have in the market are; Amo, Chi, Sayed, and Chikun, etc. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing?
Another farmer, Arit Uwah, lamented about the number of casualties she recorded the last she ordered day-old-chicks from Ibandan.
According to her, she was excited just like other farmers about the idea of establishing a hatchery in the state, but such hope has been dashed as there are no chicks several years after commissioning.
Newsmen who visited the hatchery at Mbiaya Uruan in Uruan local government area, observed that activities were at its lowest ebb as there was no sign of business going on in the sprawling complex even as the road leading to the Hatchery has been impassable for commuters.
Management of the company denied journalists access into the company even as locals confided in newsmen confirming that only the poultry section was functional and not even at full capacity.
A staff who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the press corps, said though ‘’we do not have day old chicks at the moment, we have frozen chickens in sufficient quantities.’’
Many respondents have reasons to discredit the multibillion naira agro- project initiated by governor Udom Emmanuel as part of his effort to achieve food sufficiency in the state.
Managing Director of the poultry company, Dr. Samuel Yakubu, had last years reportedly pledged to meet public demands by raising well over 200,000 broilers and 50,000 laying stock birds.
Several calls and text message sent to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet for her reaction on the issue were not responded to as at the time of filling this report.