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Thursday, July 23, 2015

We lose N20 bn annually over ban of frozen poultry products - Ijora frozen food traders

The Ijora frozen food traders on Thursday said that their members cumulatively lose about N20 billion annually following the Federal Government’s ban on the importation of frozen poultry products.
Alhaja Afusat Popoola, the President-General of the Ajeromi Frozen Foods Market Association, made the revelation in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Popoola said that before the government banned the importation, they used to receive more than eight trucks of different frozen foods which include chicken, turkey, fish, shrimps, gizzard and prawns on daily basis.
She said that the market was now a ghost of itself, adding that traders who were breadwinners of their families were going through hard times.
Popoola urged the government to provide alternative to the banned poultry products following what she termed insufficient local production capacity.
Also speaking, Mrs Chinyere Egbune, the Chairperson of the association at Ijora, Lagos, urged government to assist local poultry farmers financially to bridge the demand gap created by the ban.
Egbune said that current demand for local frozen foods had in most cases led the 300 per cent increase in the price of the poultry products.
“People prefer to buy imported one because with just N1, 000, one can cook a pot of soup, compared to the local one that costs more than N2, 000.
“If the government insists that we should eat the local ones, they should subsidise the local production so that it will be cheaper in the market,” she said.
Another trader, Mrs Oladotun Oriyomi urged the government to review the ban on frozen food because it had affected the traders negatively.
Oriyomi said that due to the ban, most of the companies that supplied the frozen food had laid off their staff members and many traders had closed their shops.
She said that traders survived on the little supplies some people were still able to get into the country.
NAN investigations in some markets in Lagos showed that one kilo of imported frozen turkey now costs between N1, 200 and N1, 500 as against earlier price of N500 per kilo.
A cartoon of turkey currently sells for N11, 200 as against the former price of N5, 000 per cartoon.
Also, a kilo of frozen chicken costs between N1, 300 and N1, 900 while a cartoon goes for between N9, 000 and N9, 500 compared with the former price of N6, 500 per cartoon about two months ago.
NAN reports that the federal government had banned the importation of frozen chicken and turkey in 2003 but since then the items have continued to be available in Nigerian markets.
NAN also reports that following the recent enforcement activity of the ban on frozen foods by the Nigeria Customs Service, a 35 per cent hike in price has been recorded on them in major markets.

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