Nigeria has about the largest chicken production in Africa and ranks second in terms of egg production. Three key models are employed viz extensive, semi-intensive and intensive or factory-style production systems respectively. The latter is a market-oriented system with large bird numbers exceeding 2,000 flock capacity and exotic poultry breeds. A key feature of the production characteristic is such that meat type chickens, otherwise referred to as broilers account for 70% of the population while egg-type chickens, commonly called layers account for the remaining 30%. With the generous support of Tiny Beam Fund, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Nigeria was able to conduct a survey that outlined key downsides of intensive poultry farming in Nigeria.

The problem: Insufficient attention is paid to the rise in number of intensive poultry farms (which has grave implications on environmental and human health as well as welfare of the birds).

A former Governor of Central bank of Nigeria (the country’s apex bank) remarked notably in 2019 that the Poultry industry is the most commercialised sub-sector in Nigeria’s Agribusiness space. One of the reasons adduced for a rise in production intensification is the huge demand for poultry meat and egg respectively by the growing populace (the highest in the entire continent of Africa). The implication is that there is enormous supply gap which has led to smuggling of poultry products from nearby countries such as Republic of Benin with about 1.2 million birds brought in from that country alone. The Central Bank thus put up various initiatives such as Anchor Borrower’s programme among others in a bid to address this domestic production deficit. Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the down-sides associated with this production system.

The Solution: Evidence-based research to the rescue

The Tiny Beam Fund is a noble organisation that helps to promote the understanding as well as address the problem of industrial food animal production across the globe.

Last year, SDSN Nigeria decided to apply for the Fueling Advocates Initiative (FAI) Grant in order to obtain financial support to elucidate the negative impacts association with intensive system of poultry production in Nigeria.

Thanks to the monetary contribution, three key academic researchers were able to conduct this survey which has now been completed.

Our work

A good understanding of the negative impacts of intensive poultry production in Nigeria will allow us provide accurate and credible information that will see to an amendment of this system of rearing poultry.

We are now better armed with incontrovertible facts that will aid our work with relevant Government organs such as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (through the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science), Poultry Association of Nigeria among others.

At SDSN Nigeria, we ensure that our campaigns and advocacies are based on verifiable science, as it is essential to establishing a very good understanding. This will thus help in achieving the intended effect of positive behavioural shift with benefits for all (the planet – with the life forms therein including animals, the populace and economic sustainability). We are passionate about engendering the Sustainable Development goals, anchored on the aforementioned pillars.

Our profound gratitude is hereby expressed to Tiny Beam Fund for their financial support which has equipped us with better tools to advance in our engagement with stakeholders in the Animal Agricultural industry in Nigeria. One of our goals is to see that the welfare of animals is given a pride of place in Nigeria.