Delays at numerous military checkpoints and harsh weather are killing chicks travelling by road.
There are strong indications that scarcity of chickens may hit Borno state during the coming Islamic fasting period and days beyond as Otta Farms, the chief supplier of poultry to the state, has stopped delivering products to the state directly.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that due to the worsening state of the Boko Haram-induced insecurity, Otta Farms had in the past one year stopped flying in Day-old chicks and other products to Borno state.
All Maiduguri-bound poultry products from Otta farms stopped at Kano, where the secondary dealers transport them by road to Maiduguri and possibly other towns in Borno state.
But unfortunately, of recent, due to the imposed state of emergency in Borno and Yobe state, even getting chickens transported by road from Kano have become a nightmare, the dealers say. Vehicles conveying the day-old chicks spent hours travel at snail speed through several military check posts, an exercise that often expose the vulnerable chicks to danger.
“In most cases, half of the chicks die on arrival, a situation that often compelled us to deliver half of what our customers booked, and it is killing the business,” said Bashir Ali, the manager of Tanya Agrovets, Maiduguri.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that last week, poultry managers recorded their worst business disaster when over 2000 chicks supplied to Maiduguri from Ota Farms died on arrival after being driven through scorching heat of the sun.
The situation had caused private poultry owners who booked for chicks ahead of the coming month of Ramadan serious pains and anger as the failure to get their supply this week ruined their chances of meeting the end of Ramadan sales.
Mrs Nafisat Aliyu, a certified animal scientist and poultry owner, lamented that government must immediately step in to intervene or the future of the poultry business might be threatened if Otta Farm is not encouraged by the government to continue flying the chicks instead of being transported by road.
“It is against the normal practice to convey chicks by road for over 600km under a harsh weather condition. But you won’t blame the dealers, because they have to be in business.
“Besides, Ota Farms have no reason to stop flying the chicks in, since they only had to deliver at the airport and fly out. So it is the duty of Borno state government to, for now, assist the situation by probably talking to the Ota Farm managers and assure them of safety so that they could start flying the chicks, if at all that was their reason for changing their earlier mode of delivering their product’, said Mrs Aliyu.