The dream of former Nigerian President Olusugun Obasanjo, to make Liberia poultry product sufficient and as well an exporter of poultry products rather than being an importer, is on the verge of becoming a reality with the commissioning of a 95,050-capacity hatchery in the country.
The commissioning of this hatchery is to help boost the activities of poultry farmers in the country, many of whom over the years have spent thousands of dollars, sometimes at a loss, to import chicks other neighboring country.
This new development is also expected to tremendously revitalize the poultry industry in Liberia. According to authorities, the average weekly egg capacity of this hatchery is 31,680. The Obasanjo Farms Liberia (OFL) is expecting 22,000 – 24,000 broiler chicks per week or at least 10,000 pullets (layer chicks) depending on demand. If local poultry farmers take advantage of the initiative, it will help bring an end to the importation o eggs, many of whom are expired, rotten upon arrival, on the Liberian market, authorities said.
The OFL was commissioned on July 27, 2013 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It was during the inauguration program that an official of OFL disclosed that former President Obbasanjo had approved the building of a hatchery in Liberia in addition to the eggs production facility. At the commissioning ceremony of the hatchery and technical forum on revitalization of poultry industry in Liberia, government and OFL officials noted this is now the right time for the poultry industry boom because the major fulcrum that supposed to move it forward is no available in the country. The ceremony was held on Saturday May 10, 2014 on Obasanjo Farm in Gbah Forloi, in Grand Cape Mount County. The hatchery was commissioned by Agriculture minister, Florence Chenoweth. There were several other government officials in attendance including Senators, Edward Dagoseh and Abel Massalley of the county. Members of the Farmer Union Network were present as well. The General Manager of Obasanjo Holdings Limited, Adeyemo G. Jamiyu, said it is indeed a dream come for both Liberians and the OFL as it will enable local poultry farmers access the right kind of products that will enhance their productivity. He noted that there is no need to worry the importation of chicks (DO chicks) anymore as the hatchery will now do it all.
Mr. Jamiyu said the mandate of OFL which emanated from a joint meeting between President Sirleaf and Chief Obasanjo, is to promote and support the revival of the poultry industry in the country. The essence of the farm is not limited to provision of direct employment of Liberians, but also to stimulate self-employment, especially in the poultry sector viz-a-viz rearing of broilers an layers; marketing of poultry products (eggs live and frozen chickens); production and marketing of feed raw materials (maize grains, soya beans meals, oyster shells and bone means). He noted that OFL is position to achieve these tasks by providing necessary inputs to poultry farmers and also play a key role in production and management of poultry.
“ To this end, we have put in place necessary facilities for rearing of commercial layers for production of table eggs; hatchery for the production of quality day-old chicks; feed mill equipment for production poultry rations (layer mash, grower mash, broiler mash, etc),” he said. He furthered, “there is also manpower for distribution/marketing of veterinary products. Training of poultry farmers and extension services will be offered as situation demand. We count on you to realize the dreams of our two great leaders.” Mr. Jamiyu indicated that OLF and government are confident that this will have multiplier effect on the economy and positively affect the country’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said it will also bring crop sector of agriculture back to lime light as we envisage pressure on crop sector to produce maize and soya beans for the poultry sector. The gains of the poultry sector are currently being tapped only by community where OFL source oyster shells. He noted that the technical forum was also meant to map out strategies to revitalize the poultry industry in Liberia. “We need to inaugurate Poultry Farmers Association which will work with the government at all levels to identify, recommend and execute feasible projects for growth of the industry.”
The Obasanjo farm boss also noted that there is plan in the pipe-line to commence a Broiler Project (production and processing) as soon as possible. The Broiler Processing Plant (BPP) will enable OFL accommodates out-growers or contract farmers who will rear broiler to table size and turn offer to processing plant either to pay processing fees and take final product or outright sales of live birds. This will be the next priority task. Minister Chenoweth expressed her gratitude to the OFL for making the hatchery a reality as it will go a long way in helping local poultry farmers. She said government has already placed restriction on the importation of poultry products. This is intended to give local producers fair advantage.
Montserrado County district 1 Representative, Josephine Francis said it I a shame that African governments spend billions of dollars to import things that they themselves could group. She urged the local poultry farmers to take full advantage of the opportunity in order to re-awaken the industry in Liberia. Meanwhile, it is regrettably shameful President Obasanjo spends over US$200,000 annually to import maize (corn) from neighboring Ivory Coast to feed the chickens. This brings about the most crucial question, where are the Liberian farmer? OFL is however urging Liberian farmers, especially those in the proximity of the OFL, to prioritize maize farming in order to have access to this huge amount that is spent out of the country annually.