Posted by News Express | 31 July 2015 | 2,580 times
The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has expressed grave concern over the continued smuggling of poultry products into the Nigerian market because of its threat to public health, besides the enormous negative impact on the economy, especially the local poultry industry.
The President of the association, Dr Ayoola Oduntan, who expressed this concern noted that in the last seven years, importation of poultry (chicken and turkey) from Europe to the neighbouring Republic of Benin has grown from 82,338 tons in 2008 to 162,791 tons in 2014; most of which are eventually smuggled into Nigeria.
“We are concerned and worried more as results of independent research on smuggled poultry products in the Nigerian markets revealed that poultry meat, particularly chicken and turkey, are loaded with microbes linking salmonella with the imported, but smuggled, poultry meat into the Nigerian markets. The above poses grave danger to consumers, the handlers and the environment, thereby causing great threat to public health,” cautioned Oduntan, adding that records available to the association indicate that 81per cent of frozen poultry products sold in Lagos, Ibadan, Warri, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
He stated at the recent launch of ‘Operation Hawk Descend’ at the Seme border, which was an initiative of the Nigerian Customs Service, as part of its efforts in checking smuggling of imported poultry products.
Dr Oduntan said he was “pleased with the leadership and management of the Nigerian Customs Service and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the occasion of the launching of ‘Operation Hawk Descend’ as an onslaught on the continued smuggling of imported, but smuggled poultry products from the Republic of Benin into Nigeria.”
He added: “Other than the ruining of the Nigeria economy, the destruction of the local poultry industry and the erosion of family livelihood, Nigerians are worse off by the continued patronage of these unwholesome smuggled poultry products mostly from the Republic of Benin. If this trend is not checked and brought under control, the huge investments in the poultry industry might be rendered a waste, and the economy brought into total collapse.”
Oduntan who attributed the above quoted huge import data to Eurostat, noted: “The above import by the Republic of Benin from Europe excludes others from Thailand, Brazil and the United States. By our estimates, the Republic of Benin imports over 1.7 million tons of poultry products into Benin – a country with a total population of not more than Lagos State. Over 80 per cent of the poultry products import by Benin (frozen chicken and turkey) finds themselves into Nigerian markets, causing loss of over USD 2.5 billion and over 1 million job loss.
“The above scenario is not a pleasant development for our country. Charity must begin from home. We cannot be used as a dumping ground for cheap, unwholesome products from the developed economies of the world. As poultry producers and one of the critical drivers of the economy, we are pleased with this initiative of the Nigeria Customs Service and NAFDAC.”
He implored members of the public to work hand-in-gloves with the Consumers Protection Council and other stakeholders in the poultry industry in Nigeria through the association, “so that together, we can rid the Nigerian markets of these products.”
•Photo shows poultry.
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