Agriculture has received renewed focus since the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. This undoubtedly presents an opportunity for prospective investors in the poultry business. Jonathan Eze reports
In pursuit of its diversification goal, the federal government promised that it would intensify efforts around ease of doing business, by creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This, the government believes, will help the private sector and ultimately the Nigerian economy flourish.
Two areas where the support for agriculture is already yielding visible results are the poultry and rice sectors. In recent times, both sectors have been producing millionaires.
Poultry generally is referred to all domestic birds raised for the production of eggs, meat and other benefits for human consumption. The domestic birds include fowl ducks, turkey, guinea fowl and geese. Poultry products have been found to have the highest protein concentrate of about 20.5% relative to others success of protein (animals) and has the shortest production cycle of all animals.
Production cycle involves all the activities in the rearing of livestock from day old to maturity. For example, to achieve a ten-fold increase in the body weight in relation to weight of a bird, Williamson and Payne (1978) outlined that it takes 25 days in broiler, 48 days in piglets, 250 days in caves and 170 days in sheep.
The rearing of pigs, cattleâ€™s and goats however requires extensive kind more than poultry where more units of production can be achieved from a given space compared to the farmer. These advantages are perhaps the cause of a higher turnover in poultry production at reasonably short period of time. However, emphasis is often paid to the domestic fowls, which are the major birds for commercial and nutritional importance
In the poultry sector, the natnuPreneur out grower scheme, promoted by natnudO foods, a sister company to Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Limited whose farm infrastructure, located in Awe, Oyo State is among the most advanced in West Africa, has already produced millionaires in different parts of the country. The scheme is designed to fulfill the chicken needs of Nigerians by ensuring that good quality chicken meat, that satisfy safety standards, are readily available in the country.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery, Mr. Albert Begerano, recently described the natnuPreneur broiler out grower scheme as helping to achieve the food security goal of the Federal government by exposing poultry farmers to modern technology and farming techniques.
He also disclosed that the Amo Farm Group is involved in the entire poultry value chain from Poultry Feeds to Day Old Chicks production; sales and distribution nationwide, to Animal Drugs and Nutrition, Poultry processing, and production into consumable finished goods
He made the assertion while receiving a group of journalists who visited some of the companies in the Group during the weekend.
Speaking further, Begerano stated that the scheme offers many services, such as free poultry consultation and a ready market for produce to registered poultry farmers and that the success of the scheme could be attributed to the backing of the different companies within the Amo group.
The Amo Farm produces about 1.9 million Day Old Chicks (DOC) weekly including 800,000 broiler chicks while Amo Byng produces between 600 â€“ 1000 tonnes of feeds daily.
Also, another company within the Group, natnudO Foods has the capacity to process 55,000 birds daily across the country- 30,000 in the western part of the country, 10,000 in the north and 15,000 in the east.
The facilities visit also took journalists through some poultry farms on the scheme. While acknowledging the positive impact of the natnuPreneur programme to her farming business, Mrs. Remi Tomori, of Honeydew Farms in Arulogun Ibadan disclosed that the benefits of the scheme are innumerable. Specifically, she said that because of the application of the knowledge derived from the scheme, the mortality rate of her chicks has reduced tremendously while she has also been able to curtail pilfering of feeds by her staff.
She also appreciates the fact that she does not have to worry about marketing or selling her produce because the natnuPreneur scheme provides a ready market for them.
â€œBefore we joined natnuPreneur, we were rearing layers but there were too many challenges; pilfering, high mortality, debt, stress and even marketing problems. Till now, people still owe us for what we supplied them many years ago. But, natnuPreneur is taking all these risks and stress off us. The scheme is incomparable in terms of returns on investment as I realise more than 50% profit annuallyâ€ she added.
Continuing, she said: â€œOur farm has a capacity of 4,000 birds which are presently in their 5th week. We joined natnuPreneur scheme in October 2014 and till date, only 15 birds mortality has been recorded on our farm. Through training and regular visitation, we realize an average weight of 1.8 as against the 1.7 minimum agreed weights. Weâ€™ve also been able to do between 5 â€“ 7 cycles per yearâ€.
Speaking earlier on the scheme, the Coordinator of natnuPreneur, Mr. Gbolade Adewole said: â€œTo guarantee sustainable profit for natnuPreneur farmers, natnudO Foods provides extension services through well trained professionals. These extension workers pay regular visits to farms, offer technical, business and project management advice, and proffer solutions to problems that may arise on the farms. They also connect farmers to the other arms of the company, which are, Amo Byng for their poultry feeds, Diversay Solutions for their drugs and vaccines need. This means a one-stop shop for poultry farmersâ€™ needs. In effect, this has helped to maintain quality and the standards achieved with the programmeâ€.
The coordinator also stated: â€œIt is not enough to help farmers achieve profitability after just one cycle. What we are most concerned about is that the profit increases and gets sustained. For this reason, we employ professional counseling on poultry management processes, to help farmers maintain profitability. Registered farmers on the scheme are guided on how to manage and grow healthy broilers in a way that would minimise flock mortality. We also provide them with a feeding, watering and vaccination schedule, and supervise these operationsâ€.
Adewole added that, the scheme, in the three years of its existence, has partnered with financial institutions like Bank of Industry (BoI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Sterling Bank, and other commercial banks to finance farmers. Also, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its anchor borrower initiative, has provided credit facilities for farmers on the scheme. â€œWe have collaborated with top financial institutions and shared resources in the process. Our data and analysis are globally recognised and this is what we use to improve output of poultry farmers for profitabilityâ€, he included.
While also harping on the impact of the scheme on employment in the country, Mr. Alaba Yunusa, a Data Analyst and Farmer Satisfaction Representative (FSR) at natnudO Foods disclosed that â€œnatnuPreneur has directly employed 150 graduates, working as extension officers (Farmer Satisfaction Representatives), indirectly employed over 220,000 people working at various capacities with farmers and that there is a potential to have an additional 2 million people, to work with natnuPreneur in various capacities within the entire value chain ( Feed mills, Hatchery, Logistics and transportation, chicken processing, chicken distribution and retailers (natnuPreneur seller) if well supported.â€
It is a fact also that Poultry outnumbers all other forms of livestock in Nigeria and not surprisingly, it is found throughout the country wherever there are human settlements.
However, in spite of the immense contributions of the poultry industry to the national economy, the subsector is facing challenges such as poor quality of ingredients used in the manufacture of feed, supply of poor quality chicks, high feed costs, inadequate access to and high cost of veterinary services and poor marketing information systems amongst others.
These factors, to a large extent, have slowed down further growth of the sector. Impetus on development of commercial poultry production can be facilitated by public private partnership. This would ensure sustainability of poultry enterprises, provision of capital subsidy by government in form of periodic grants to poultry farmers and core infrastructures.
Government should continue to provide financial assistance to subsistence and small-scale poultry farmers in form of soft loans. It should also give them tax concession. Poultry waste management system under commercial production should be properly designed, built and maintained in order to protect both surface and underground water quality.