Poultry Industry in Nigeria and Climate Change Implications

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The poultry industry is one of the most viable and popular agricultural business industries in Nigeria. The industry has been pitched on a solid ground such that it has become a means of livelihood in the rural and urban communities in the country. Presently, Nigeria poultry industry is valued at about 8 billion USD and is the most industrialized segment in the Nigeria livestock industry. The industry directly and indirectly employs about 25 million people. The industry plays a key role in the preservation of animal food security in Nigeria. Hence, any factor that affects the industry negatively is taken as a serious one due to its impact on the economic value and sustainability of humans in the country. A vivid example was the crisis of Avian Influenza which rocked the industry in 20015 and caused the loss of over 3 million birds nationwide. Efforts to mitigate the effect of the endemic virus was put in place, though not thoroughly implemented but still effective to a certain extent in reducing the endemicity of the virus. In this view, it is therefore of great importance to mitigate other factors such as climate change, which as at today, is a key threat to the industry’s sustainability.



The under listed activities of poultry production do contribute to the global climatic changes:

  • Manure disposal
  • Disposal of Mortalities
  • Ammonia Release and Methane, CH 4, Produced by Microbial activities
  • Nitrous Oxide Biomass and from Nitrogenous fertilizers e.g. organic manures
  • Shallow river contamination



Our experiences in the West Africa sub region on the effect of climate change on Animal protein food security have become a major concern in the poultry industry of the region. Our recent interrupted rainfall pattern and long dry spell have affected the quality and storage of feed raw materials with subsequent contamination of cereals and oil seeds with mycotoxins. Every experienced poultry farmer recognizes the direct implications of climatic changes on poultry operations of the Tropical climate manifesting as:

  • Heat and/ Heat Stress
  • Rainfall and flood
  • Wind storm
  • Topographical problems e.g. soil erosion
  • Water quality and contamination
  • Repeated outbreaks
  • Housing defects
  • Mycotoxins, immune depression and resistance development.
  • Vaccination failures
  • High rearing mortalities
  • Droughts
  • Crop failures
  • Heat stroke
  • Low yield or productivity
  • High feed cost
  • Low workers’ productivity

Poultry Industry of the Tropics experienced these serious negative impacts from Global climatic changes. They showed negatively on various sub sets of the industry as itemized below:

  • Infrastructural problems and defects
  • Poultry Health problems and complications
  • Emergence of new diseases
  • Nutritional problems and complications
  • Production/management disequilibrium
  • Safe water problems for birds and handlers
  • Bio-security
  • Fixed and operational cost disequilibrium
  • Man power and turnover rate
  • Profitability projections
  • Sustainability problems

However the emphasis of this study will be on Health, Nutrition and Production management.




i) On Incubation and Hatching of Day old chicks

The effect of climatic changes on hatchery operations will manifest from a generalized rise in temperatures and humidity which may provide a good medium for fungal and bacteria growth, high temperature will encourage more evaporation to the air and thus encourage the buildup of microbes.

Data on monitored hatcheries production in tropical West Africa showed that weather fluctuations manifesting as high temperature, interrupted rainfall and high humidity have impact on chicks’ hatchability.

Some results in West Africa reflected on reduction in hatchability in the range of 3%-5% over short period monitoring in the last 2 years, with chick output showing ruffled feathers and high rate of unhealed navel.


ii) Effect on chick rearing

The after effect on brooding may show up in the first week as high mortality syndrome illustrated by graphical representation below. The last few years had witnessed excessive ambient Temperature in poultry houses in Nigeria, where daily mean temperature had fluctuated within the range of 45 degree centigrade in the extreme northern border to 35 degree centigrade in the far southern part of Nigeria. Variation in daily temperature average about 5 degree centigrade in the South and 8 degree centigrade in the Northern part of Nigeria.

By April 2016, in the southern regions of Nigeria, rainfall was not yet steady and crop farmers could not be sure of making accurate decisions as to when to plant seeds for upcoming harvest needed for humans and livestock consumption.

In September/October, rainfall pattern showed high degree of precipitation with accompanied storms and flood characteristic of climatic changes.

The graph below gives a clear description of this pattern of recurrent bacterial infections in many poultry farms in Nigeria



iii) Diseases pattern and resistance problems

The impact of climate change on the disease pattern and re-emergence of Poultry diseases has been confirmed by a majority of OIE Member Countries and Territories in a worldwide study conducted by OIE among all its national Delegates.

The appearances of Avian Influenza in 2006 2008 and 2015 and their devastating economic impact on the Industry have its genesis on wild bird’s migration as a result of weather changes and ecological distress.

“More and more countries are reporting that climate change has been responsible for at least one emerging or re-emerging disease occurring on their territory. This is a reality we cannot ignore and we must help Veterinary Services throughout the world to equip themselves with systems that comply with international standards of good governance so as to deal with this problem,” (explained Dr Bernard Vallat, DG of the OIE)


iii) On Production practices

Case study on the effect of climatic changes on Therapy and Resistance development in Nigeria poultry production are presented below:

This study confirms the high level and the broad spectrum Resistances of these common Bacteria to available antibiotics of which the etiology has close relationship with Mycotoxins contamination of feed. The implications of this are the high cost of treating Bacteria diseases in Nigeria resulting from high incidences of cyclical infections that are caused by the complexity of water and mycotoxins contamination of poultry feed and raw materials.


iv) Mycotoxin effects

A recent UNDP report showed that short and long-term variations in climate will continue to determine and affect agricultural produce, livestock, and fish production. One major effect is the level of crop yield, storage and heavy contamination with mycotoxins such as Aflatoxin B1, DON, T2tox, FB1, OTA and ZEA.

The level of Mycotoxins damage to poultry health and immunity is of serious magnitude which is less appreciated in the Tropics than in the developed world where the management of this risk factor is now been managed by nanotechnology, a science that deals with scientific manipulation of matter in its atomic structure.


v) On Nutrition

The case study below represents a recycling Bacteria infection with an underlining heavy Aflatoxin contamination of feed raw materials for a project in south western Nigeria


Adejoro et al 2007

Courtesy: Zartech Diagnostic Laboratory Research documents 2007.


For the purpose of this study, we shall focus more on “climate change effects, mycotoxins effects and adaptation and mitigation issues in the Nigeria Poultry Industry.



Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites of fungi that exert toxic effects on animals and humans. The toxic effect of mycotoxins on animal and human health is referred to as mycotoxicosis. Severity of the toxic effect depends on the toxicity of the mycotoxin, the extent of exposure, age and nutritional status of the individual and possible synergistic effects of other chemicals to which the individual is exposed.



1. Mycotoxins are also products of secondary metabolism of molds. They are not essential to maintaining the life of the mold cell in a primary way.

2. Mycotoxins are nearly all cytotoxic. They disrupt various cellular structures such as membranes, and interfere with vital cellular processes such as protein, RNA and DNA synthesis.

3. They are toxic to the cells of higher plants and animals, including humans.

4. Mycotoxins vary in specificity and potency for their target cells, cell structures or cell processes by species and strain of the mold that produces them. 

In Nigeria, majority of poultry feed ingredient have been highly contaminated with mycotoxins.


Growth of fungi and mycotoxins formation is dependent on various factors which include season, location of grains cultivation, method of storage of grains, temperature, drought and time of harvest. The effect of mycotoxins contamination in grains, most especially is evident in;

  • Maize growers, who consistently suffer economic losses due to rejected and downgraded maize which eventually put them out of market.
  • Livestock industry, where mycotoxins cause depletion in animal health, leading to reduction in quality of animal food protein due to consequent diseases caused by the toxins.
  • Human health is also affected due to the presence of toxins beyond the maximum allowable limit which lead to various diseases such as cancers, chronic illnesses, long lasting impacts on the development of infants and children.


Beyond implications of food and health safety, increased mycotoxins contamination has taken a toll on the economy of countries in Africa, especially, their ability to export grains. In Africa, 670 million USD in trade is lost due to mycotoxins levels consistently exceeding the maximum levels of exporting countries as reported by African Union Commission in June 2016.



1. Aflatoxin: They are produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus under conditions of high humidity and temperature which is highly characteristic of South Western States in Nigeria. Aflatoxins can contaminate many food and feed stuffs including maize, peanuts and various spices. In poultry, aflatoxin B1 has induced liver tumours and has been associated with immunotoxicity, reduced weight gain and productivity, and lower egg production and eggshell quality. Aflatoxins are acutely toxic, immunosuppressive, teratogenic and carcinogenic compounds. The main target organ for toxicity and carcinogenicity is the liver.


2. Ochratoxin: Ochratoxins are secondary metabolites of Aspergillus ochraceus and Penicillium viridicatum, found on cereals, coffee and bread, as well as on all kinds of food commodities of animal origin in many countries. It causes reduced growth rate in broilers due to reduced consumption of feeds and reduced feed conversion ratio.


3. Fumonisins: Fumonisins, produced by the fungi Fusarium verticillioides and Fusarium proliferatum, primarily contaminate maize, which is a very important component of poultry feed. Fumonisins B1 and B2 are of toxicological significance, while the others (B3, B4, A1 and A2) occur in very low concentrations and are less toxic. Fumonisin toxin causes "crazy horse disease", or leukoencephalomalcia, a liquefaction of the brain. Symptoms include blindness, head butting and pressing, constant circling and ataxia, followed by death. It is of significance in poultry as it causes reduced weight gain and productivity.


4. Zearalenone: Zearalenone (previously known as F-2) is produced mainly by Fusarium graminearum and related species, principally in wheat and maize but also in sorghum, barley and compounded feeds. Zearalenone and its derivatives produce estrogenic effects in poultry birds.


5. Deoxynivalenol (DON): It is also called ‘vomitoxin’. It belongs to the class of the trichothecenes and is produced by the fungi Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium culmorum. It causes effects ranging from gastrointestinal dysfunction (e.g. anorexia, vomiting, and nausea) to immunotoxicity and loss of productivity.



Climate change is the major cause of increased mycotoxins contamination worldwide. With the continuous trend of global warming, increasing temperature will continue to lead to the occurrence of mycotoxins contamination in foods of man and animals. Researches have shown that the major factors contributing to high concentrations of aflatoxins are high temperatures and drought stress. These two environmental factors directly impact maize and A. flavus. High temperatures and dry conditions favour growth, conidia formation, and dispersal of A. flavus and impair growth and development of maize. Such weather condition is experienced in Nigeria around February and March and it aids the large contamination of these raw materials of poultry feed by mycotoxins. Sétamou et al. (1997) observed that the highest fraction of aflatoxin producers were in the hotter regions of Africa. Several studies report that high soil temperature and drought stress are key environmental parameters that are positively correlated with aflatoxin contamination and increased incidence of aflatoxigenic strains or species. Warmer temperatures and greater extremes in precipitation (especially drought) are known to shift the balance in favour of increased aflatoxin levels.

Temperature, insect injury, drought stress, and water activity are the major factors that affect the risk of Fusarium infection and subsequent fumonisin contamination in Nigeria and Africa generally. In Nigeria today, these climatic scenarios are common in almost all the geopolitical zones of the country due to constant climate change. Conditions that favour fumonisin contamination of maize grain have been studied and the most important environmental influences on fumonisin risk are insect damage to grain and moisture stress in maize plants.

Temperatures in most maize-producing areas are within the range conducive for F. verticillioides growth and fumonisin production, but the risk is higher in warmer temperate of Nigeria. Specific information on temperature, water activity, relative humidity, and other environmental conditions required for different phases of the F. verticillioides life cycle, as well as fumonisin production has come from various laboratory studies in the United States. Some of these results were summarized by Maiorano et al. (2009). Sporulation, germination, and growth of F. verticillioides are optimised at 25-30 °C (Maiorano et al., 2009; Rossi et al., 2009). Most studies have found that optimal conditions for fumonisin production are a temperature close to 30 °C and high water activity (Marin et al., 1999; Reid et al., 1999). However, optimal conditions for fumonisin production by F. proliferatum appear to be significantly different, with a lower optimal temperature (Marin et al., 1999).



  • Global food security is undergoing obvious threat with escalating incidences of the impact of climatic changes on Agriculture and Animal food production.
  • This impact will be felt more in the tropics and third world countries that have obvious deficit in food production along with high poverty indices and illiteracy level of the communities
  • The consequences of climatic changes on health and declining production will need urgent intervention through a new technology that would expand and accelerate food production for the pro-poor communities of the world.
  • This technology will manage the challenges facing World Food security, arising from the impact of climate change.
  • Nanotechnology had improved efficiency of Toxin Binders by expanding their broad spectrum ness.
  • The technology is more friendly to the environment and for human food safety which makes it the choice of this millennium.
  • This technology is now a priority option in many developed economy and it is highly recommended for the management of poultry health and nutritional challenges arising from the prevailing Global climatic changes in Tropical poultry production.
  • Anewly created Livestock Foundation NGO www.lifango.org is poised to drive advogacy on the mitigation of climate change effect on poultry among other activities in Nigeria nand A frica
star Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 2, 2018
Musa, don't have a narrow perspective of what makes up the poultry Industry in Nigeria ,it is far beyond the narrow perspective of commercial poultry production and feed milling from the upstream to the commercial level
Infact my view of the entire poultry industry is broader than the description above ,the industry in its comprehensive term is inclusive of the various poultry value chain and the employment opportunities provided by the various segments of the chain
just imagine the structure of the Industry from GPS to PS to Hatcheries to Commercial Layers to commercial Broilers to various private and commercial feed millers to Various Distributors in the country,Now go to Distribution of Day Old Chicks and the transportation chain to move them all over the country,pause a bit, and look at the value added business in the various fast food centres in the country and the local chicken been dressed in many parks ,towns and villages in Northern parts of Nigeria as delicacies most of which are local house hold chicken
Have you ever thought of the owners of the local chickens that derived their livelihood from raising ducks guinea fowls pigeons and quals
Dan what exactly is your definition of poultry and the poultry Industry? have you considered the various producers of input into the poultry industry? such as the farmers producing the supply maize , soya, sorghum ,Palm Kernel cake, their transportation and the distributors of wheat offal and brewers grain all supplying the poultry industry and earning their living from there?
Now let us look at the various supply of micronutrients ,feed additives ,veterinary drugs and vaccines suppliers and producers all earning a living by servicing poultry industry in Nigeria,What is your view of the servicing industry such as the numerous official and private commercial laboratories that have recently sprung up to meet the need of this industry in Nigeria
Mr Dan, the woman who sells the life birds in the open live birds market is part and parcel of the employee of the poultry Industry and I hope you could Imagine the chains of attendants working and learning the trade from them because it is a profession in itself here in Africa
Dan dont forget the manufacturers of poultry equipments and cage producers in Nigeria or even the engineers that are recently fabricating feed mill equipments slaughtering machines and oil crutchers plus the various work force in that system ,which Industry would you place them please?
The poultry Industry is indeed more comprehensive that what I imagine you are thinking about,perhaps you are basing your calculation on say the production segment of commercial layers ,broilers ,their GPS ns The PS production,but I believe I have thrown more light for you to have a holistic perspective of what the industry entails especially in developing countries that re very labour intensive
Perhaps you will allow me to give you a simple assignment of estimating the population that may likely be engaged in the various segments just highlighted for you,and if you can do that you would have contributed to the knowledge of good understanding of this vast industry in Africa

star Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 2, 2018
Sorry Dr B Anad wrote the critics that I responded to above as regards Broiler meat out put ,please take note
star Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 2, 2018
Dan Musa
Thank you for the error you noticed in that article ,but It would have been better for you had declared your full name as a contributor the poultry Knowledge
I stated in the article that the Broiler population in Nigeria is 29 million,and mind you ,if that is the carrying capacity of the industry, and you estimated that in one year ,an average of 4.7 cycles can be produced on the average I will lead you to my correct estimate in my west Africa report
Before I bring out my calculation Please note that my 650 metric tons was indeed a mistake as that figure was to be 650,000 tons meant to be the total broiler production in West Africa,as my article was an extract from my study of the broiler production in West Africa
Nigeria indeed do meet almost 40% of the total broiler the region and 50 % of the layer production in the region,therefore working on thia assumption of 29 million commercial broilers of 4.7 cycles per annum ,The total tonnage of broiler in Nigeria will be 29,000,000,x40% =260 Thousands Tons and you will agree that this figure is close to the official statistics of Poultry Association of Nigeria 250 Thousands Tons ,which placed Nigeria as the Third largest producers in Africa apart from South Africa and Egypt
This estimate of broiler production by me in Nigeria compared with my intended figure of 650,000 metric Tons for West Africa is indeed 40% by calculation
I thank you for bringing out that error and wish to be modest that I pioneered the good idea of initiating data for the poultry Industry in Nigeria ,as far back as 1984 when I published my first article in World Poultry titled Tress sparks epidemic in Nigeria,but Under the able chairmanship leadership of Dr Ayo Oduntan of your organization, andthe versatile effort of the Nigeria executive secretary of PAN Mr Onallo AKPA the Association now keeps a reliable data base for the Industry
I was head of the PAN avian Influenza crack team at the presidential villa in 2005 when I wrote my first published articles on Avian influenza epizootics in engormix ,and I can boldly say that It was me and Onallo Akpa that generated the economic loss of Avian Influenza to e poultry Industry in Nigeria
star Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 2, 2018
It was Dr B Anad from Awe Oyo that wrote the critics I responded to above, and apology for misplacing the names .I would love to have a full name of Dr Anad for further clarification and exchange of knowledge
BSc Hons MSc PhD
January 3, 2018
I shall in the due course study the knity of Dr Adejoro's contribution. Much as we are aware that we lack data base or relevant information on figures, however, his estimation of those involves in the whole poultry value chain is a gross underestimation. If Mr Dan Musa have been a keen player in the industry, he will be very quick to accept this fact. Poultry value chain remains the largest of all other commodities in the agricultural sector.
My substantive comments will come later. However, i appreciate the inputs of Dr Adejoro on this discourse
Dr. Olugbenga Ogunwole
BSc Hons MSc PhD
January 3, 2018
corrections on the above
involved not involves
star Stephen Adejoro Dr Stephen Adejoro Dr
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 4, 2018
Thank you Dr Olugbenga Ogunwole for your comment and identified gap in my estimation of what I percieved to be the scope of the poultry industry in Nigeria here under re itemised as contained in my response to Mr Dan Musa
1The GPS
2 The PS
3The Hatcheries ,integrated and retailing outlets
4Commercial down streams of Layers and Broilers+contract rearers
5All DOC Distributors + all that support their markets
6All Transportation system of DOC etc
7All commercial feed millers +Toll millers+ integrated mills
8,Village poultry for livelihood in rural and peri urban regions
9All poultry meat value addition centres +emerging shopping moors selling poultry meat portions
,10 All chicken fast food centres like Mr Bigs
11All local chicken delicacies in NorthernNigeria
12All farmers producing cereals like maize sorghum and Soya to feed the Indusy
13 All seller of byproducts of wheat offal's Palm kernel cake and brewers grain used in poultry feed milling
14All poultry diagnostic laboratories
15All company producing premixes and various distributors
,16 All poultry Animal health and nutritional products sales system
If all the above is what you reffered to as an underestimations ,please bridge the gap as no one has a monopoly of knowledge, please you may not need more time to do more research to update this list,in fact it could form a viable exercise for any reader inNigeria to continuously update this knowlkkedge
I am always ready to enrich my little knowledge of poultry especially when the information's are coming from the gown ,but I can assure you that the town is full of research innovations and abundant knowledge on the poultry Industry and a PPP pertneship in this regard will help improve capacity development in the industry
This has been my stand in the last 4decades just to share knowledge in the industry ,which had led meto the creation of the first knowledge capitalized livestock NGO called Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa www.lifango.org
I am committed to endow my knowledge to the Industry and for posterity as no amount of critics can discourage me
Dr Ogunwole is personally known tome and has direct access to me so I wander why he would not prefer a private chart with me to resolve very simple observation like this
This is to inform readers of my latest book in addition to lifango knowledge capitalization titled Livestock mixed portfolio :A cooperative farming for youth and retiree empowerment in Africa
This book authored by Dr Stephen Adejoro is published by Lap Lsmmark publishers of Germany and it is internationally sold by Amazon
The recent survey of the book scored 4.5/5 ***
I will continue to offer my knowledge to improve the poultry industry in this region
Engormix can assure all readers that I do not get remuneration for this sacrifice ,and I want to implore others not to hoard knowledge but make it available for posterity and so we shall all work together to improve Animal food security I'm Africa ,and that exactly is my vision
star Martin Smith Martin Smith
Animal Nutritionist
January 8, 2018
Dear Dr. Adejoro

A very interesting article. Whilst I am in no doubt that mycotoxins contribute to the on-going problems, one should consider a much wider range of nutritional solutions to really start to make improvements. With our extensive experience in West Africa, we are aware that nutritional knowledge and training needs to be seriously improved. Use of up to date formulation tools / nutritional standards will improve industry performance (as all levels, from farm, to hatchery, to meat sales), and at the same time improve profitability. A single, simple point; reducing unneccesary feed crude protein by 1% will reduce water consumption by 1.5%. Provision of adequate energy and digestible amino acids will enhance growth rates and reduce FCR. De facto this means the use of higher quality raw materials than is currently the norm in Nigeria. Evonik have been investing in training and working with Customers to bring to the Nigerian poultry industry the very best in nutritional knowledge; and this we will continue to do.
Pat Banjo Pat Banjo
Animal Nutritionist
January 17, 2018

Thank you sir for this discussion. My dear colleagues in the academia, what are we doing to mitigate the effects of climate change in the livestock industry. Dr Adejoro has highlighted good recommendations. Since we are not yet very good in nanotechnology, we should look at nutrition option as suggested by Martin Smith from Evonik. My ongoing research work shows a very high level of mycotoxin contamination of poultry feeds sampled in Lagos, Nigeria. I think it will be good to have Martins in Nigeria for the training program. I am ready (like many other) to participate.

Alissa Welsher Alissa Welsher
January 19, 2018
Great topic, and one that deserves much attention. I agree with Martin as well, so how can we all help the industry in Nigeria? While we are dealing with mycotoxins, hatchery issues, etc. in other areas as well, scientists and industry professionals have data that I believe would be great to employ in Nigeria. For example, a group out of Hebrew University in Israel does much work on heat stress in broilers where they found heat stressing the chicks and even the eggs, leads to an animal that can better tolerate temperature swings and long periods of high temperatures. Data such as this and hat we know on mycotoxicosis should be relayed to Nigeria as Martin's group does. I am a gut health scientist with a molecular background currently in the poultry feed additive industry and I think that Martin's program is great and I would be willing to help with what I could if there is to be a program set up.
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