Poultry farmers in Akwa Ibom State have lamented the scarcity of day-old-chicks despite the existence of a hatchery with an estimated capacity of 200, 000 per week.
Some of the poultry farmers expressed frustration over the high cost of feeds as well as wondering that the hatchery owned by the state government has offered no assistance.
One of the farmers, Etoro-Obong Inyang, said that poultry farmers in the state were facing hard times in getting chicks and feeds.
“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 mercy of the businessmen adding that 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.
“For instance, in 2016, the government said it has constructed a hatchery, and the intention was to ensure availability of day-old chicks at affordable prices to farmers, but, that effort has not yielded any tangible result. Farmers are still getting their day-old chicks from outside the state.
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at affordable prices, but, from all indications, the acclaimed hatchery is a ruse.
The day-old chicks we in the market are; Amo, Chi, Sayed, and Chikun, etc. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing?
Another farmer, Eka Prince Ukpong, lamented the number of chicks that have died she ordered day-old-chicks from outside Akwa Ibom State.
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.
It was gathered that the hatchery in Uruan now sells frozen chicken instead of producing chicks.
Management of the company denied newsmen access into the company even as locals confided in correspondents that only the poultry section is functional and not even at full capacity.
A staff who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the newsmen, said though ‘’we do not have day old chicks at the moment, we have frozen chickens in sufficient quantities.’’
Managing Director of the poultry company, Dr. Samuel Yakubu, had last year’s reportedly pledged to meet public demands by raising well over 200,000 broilers and 50,000 laying stock birds.
Several calls and text messages sent to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Glory Edet, for her reaction on the issue were not responded to as of press time.