Two hundred and fifty women, mostly from poor backgrounds on Monday received 5000 environmentally adaptable birds as well as 7,500 eggs meant to boost nutrition in their families, especially children, in addition to creating a means of empowerment for them.
Governor Kashim Shettima supervised the distribution following donation of the items by Natnudo foods, an agro business company specialized in producing chickens and eggs.
The distribution took place at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Government House in Maiduguri with the Minister of Agriculture and Chief Executives of the donor company in attendance.
The Minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Hassan who received the items from the donor company
Governor Shettima said natnudO had done greatly not only to provide protein for the malnourished people but also to empower people through its laudable research in the agricultural sector and alleviate poverty in Nigeria.
The Governor, who noted that the natnudO intervention was timely, said the Government would support the initiative through partnership with the company, saying the government would try to sensitize the rural people to key into the initiative.
Due to the high malnutrition rate, infant mortality, stunting in rural Nigeria, natnudO Foods Limited, producer of natnudO Chicken and eggs, has donated 5000 Noiler birds and a total of 75000 eggs (2500 crates of eggs) to the rural indigents, widows and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to curb the menace in the North-East part of the country.
This, according to the Company, is out of its goodwill in support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Borno State Government’s effort, to save the people in the region from untimely death resulting from deficiency of protein in their daily food consumptions and to also create a source of income to the women in the rural areas.
The Group Managing Director, natnudO Foods, a subsidiary of Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, said both birds and eggs, which are the best sources of protein, would substitute for the nutrition deficiency in their foods.
According to him, the quickest and easiest source through which the people in the disadvantaged rural areas and IDP camps could get protein to supplement their food is chicken and eggs.
Speaking at the launching and presentation of the birds and eggs to the beneficiaries at the Government House in Maiduguri, on Monday, Oduntan noted that many of those people died not because they were not fed, but because their foods only contained high level of carbohydrates without protein.
It was reported that not less than 2,300 children below the age of five die annually in Nigeria due to lack of nutrition. It was also projected that about 5.2 million people were expected to be seriously affected by malnutrition against the 4.7 million currently affected in North-East.
The natnudO boss, who handed the birds and eggs to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, explained that Noiler birds, which could be reared at the backyard just like the local birds, do not require high input in rearing like the broiler and layer species.
Oduntan informed that the dual purpose birds were developed in Nigeria, saying the initial letter of Noiler stands for ‘Nigeria’ to indicated local content, which must be proud of.
As he said, the birds would serve two purposes of providing protein and creating entrepreneurs in the country. He added that malnutrition and poverty would grossly reduce in the country “if we can have 5 million families with 20 birds in their backyards to feed their children with eggs and chicken.”
Specifically, Oduntan said the Noiler specie, which was the outcome of many years of research by the Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited, could be fed with leftovers from kitchen and farm on free range.
He explained that the he was challenged to embark on a research to develop such easy-to-rear birds for the indigent rural people having learnt at various international conference that Nigeria records highest infant mortality rate annually.
He said: “Having noticed that the country records more infant mortality rate as well as high death rate among the pregnant women in the rural areas in my country and especially among the Internally Displaced Persons, we embarked on a research in my company. After eight years of thorough research, we came out with this Noiler specie that could be reared without any stress.
“We are therefore donating these birds and eggs to these people in order to serve as primary source of protein to increase their nutrition intake.
“These Noiler birds can grow fast within two and half months. At maturity, the birds will be two to four times bigger than the other birds in the country side.
Oduntan clarified that the rearing of the noiler birds does not require any rigorous formal training as they could be reared like the local birds.
He therefore recommended the birds to all rural communities requiring empowerment as a source of income to them as well as source of nutrition to the family and consumers.
The company also donated a 25kg bag of feed to each of the 250 beneficiaries of the scheme in addition to sachet of drug for the birds.
Noiler Country Coordinator, Bunmi Oluwalasinu added that the first phase of the donation to the North-East was targeted at the women in the IDPs in Maiduguri, Borno state in order to help them recover from the devastation of the last few years.
She noted that the newly discovered Noiler birds would benefit the low come farmers who could not afford the financial requirement needed in setting up big poultry farms for broilers and layer birds.
Apart from donating the birds and eggs to the IDPs, Oluwalasinu informed that the beneficiaries were also trained on how to rear the birds, adding that the training was part of capacity building programme of the company, where the farm management and entrepreneurs are trained.
Appreciating the gesture of the company, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the donation of the items to the IDPs would go a long way to reduce the suffering of the affected people.
Ogbeh, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bukar Hassan, also commended the company on its research and development effort in poultry sector, describing it as what the country needs at this time to develop the agricultural sector.
The minister, who promised to support the beneficiaries with additional one bag of feeds each, said the ministry would seek the partnership of the company in sustaining locally developed birds.