Chicken Importation Ban:A Republic of Chicken without Chicken

This article is based on a true life story that happened at the wake of the chicken importation ban in Nigeria.

Let me tell you a short story. So I was in one of the Northern States on an official assignment recently and after a 2 hour train ride, made a stop at a renowned food chain franchise to satiate the threatening pangs of hunger. I was already salivating on the train with images of me munching on the spicy roasted chicken served alongside some moi-moi – to serve as lunch and dinner (never mind as a modern girl, I was keeping an eye on my diet).

I went through the motions of placing my order; imagine my consternation when I was informed there was no Chicken! Thinking it was a joke I asked, “En no chicken, fry some more then? I can wait!” The attendant said again “Madam what I actually meant was, we do not have Chicken in Stock!” What? A “republic of chicken” with no chicken.

My feelings were a mixture of shock and utmost disappointment, so much so that I felt like going outside and just removing “Chicken” from the signage.I mean you cannot mislead a customer after all… lol.

The attendant further muttered something about a national scarcity of imported frozen chicken which had impacted negatively on their operations nationwide. I tried to do some investigating, because at this point a response of no chicken was not good enough to appease my chicken senses, but it eventually dawned on me. “Border Closure?”! I asked, and got an affirmative nod, and then I probed further, wondering why they had not switched to using locally bred chicken to which she responded, “We are working on it”.

I eventually had to change my order, seeing as I was too hungry to visit another restaurant. I took my food tray and returned to my sit in dissatisfaction. As expected, my mind did a number on me, as I sat there wondering why a lot of things seemed incomprehensible in Nigeria. Did we not ban the importation of frozen chicken since 2003 (The Poultry Site; The Vanguard)?

One would expect that a renowned franchise whose major raw material is chicken, would engage in a backward vertical integration and take ownership of the raw material supply chain, rather than depend on the importation of chicken from God-knows-where.

By doing this, they are able meet the demands of all their outlets across the country, contribute to the Nigerian economy as well as create more jobs for Nigerian youths.

Hmmm! With a rather heavy sigh, I said to myself, “this is Nigeria, the more you look, the less you see”.

Chicken Importation Ban: Public Opinion

However, some Nigerians have also expressed their views on the chicken importation ban. Businessday has this to say;

A poultry farmer, Samuel Ishola, whose farm is located in Olunlade, a suburb of Ilorin, told NAN that he witnessed a rise in demand of broilers unlike few years back when he resulted into begging people to buy.

Ishola said the government had done well to encourage poultry farmers as the ban on importation of chicken had forced a huge number of customers to patronise them.

“Since the ban on importation of turkey, I now witness a huge crowd that is now interested in my broilers everyday.

“We the poultry farmers benefit a lot from that government policy as we feel encouraged and enjoy the way our customers now settle for the domestic chicken instead of opting for the imported,’’ he said.

Another farmer, Leke Ayoola, described the ban on imported chicken as a blessing as every poultry farmer now had a market as demand increased for the livestock product.

Ayoola said he was forced to increase his poultry pen due to high patronage by the customers, adding that he extended his poultry farm to meet up with customers’ demand.

“Before, I use to raise like 200 to 300 broilers but now am happy that I have like 400 to 500 broilers inside my poultry pen and I have customers that always come for it.

“I sell to hotels, restaurants, private individuals as they now prefer to buy the home- raised boilers. They have come to appreciate freshness,’’ he said.

Another farmer, Alhaja Iyabo Ahmed in Kangu area said most poultry farmers in the country were encouraged to do more, as they commended the initiative of the government in prohibiting importation of chicken.

“Though there are some financial challenges but we still try to make things work for our customers,’’ she said.

Ahmed said the harsh weather was one of the major challenges faced by farmers during the hot season because the poultry birds did not adapt easily to heat.

She, however, called on the government to encourage students, unemployed graduates at all levels on agricultural practice.


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4 thoughts on “Chicken Importation Ban:A Republic of Chicken without Chicken

  1. Honestly you have to appreciate Naija (I no longer call it Nigeria, because most of the the things we bear witness to, can only happen in Naija), border closure is now the song everyone sings for every action or lack of it. Ome would wonder if there really was a Ban on Chicken then how has this franchise operated for so long before the closure?
    Corruption is the only answer that comes to mind! And yes almost every one in that value chain is culpable.

    As the saying goes “Cunny man die…na Cunny Man go bury Am”. Tilll then my sister…I suggest you stick to fish….lol…

    1. Thanks for your comment J5. This is our sad reality as a nation honestly. Let me just try and make do with home made chicken biko.

  2. Another interesting read about the situation in Nigeria. Some solutions to our problems seem so obvious and relatively easy yet nothing is done. It’s obviously deeper than the eyes can see.

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