Most young men picture themselves working in banks and oil companies with elegant offices in the centre of Nigeria’s major cities. They want job that will allow them to dine out in top-class restaurants and live luxurious, secure township complexes, rather than working in harsh environments and living in areas that are not so comfortable.
One specific sector that is desperately short of skills is the agricultural sector. Very few young people want to embark on a career in agriculture.
I recently asked a graduate why he did not want to work in agricultural sector. With a puzzled tone in his voice, he responded “…And do what kind of work on a farm, Sir?” He looked at me as if I had lost mind. I wanted to ask him what was wrong with working on a farm and explain to him that choosing a career in this sector was not only about working on a farm, but that he could have a career in agriculture and still sit in a comfortable office in a city center. As usual, I wanted to use myself as an example; but I realized I was too late. Young people like this need to be reoriented, especially if we want to attract more youths to agriculture.
Poultry farming has become one of the most lucrative Nigerian businesses, and is arguably the big thing in Nigerian agriculture. Many big businesses, entrepreneurs, retired uncles, job seekers and Nigerians living overseas are making inroads into the sector, either to pursue their keen interest in livestock farming, agro allied business or to rake in big money.
In the last decade, Nigeria’s poultry farming industry has changed into a full-blown sustainable business sector, and contributed greatly to the nation’s economic stature.
Like me, there are numerous supporters of poultry farming in Nigeria, who in some way or another, are trying to draw focus and promote this old but growing sector, and highlight its benefits.
The most notable feature of poultry farming is that it ensures phenomenal returns in a blink of an eye, but it is also sensitive. With a population of about 180 million plus, where most citizens consume poultry products on a regular basis, Nigeria is a lucrative market that continues to grow.
Why choose poultry farming? One of the reasons behind the dramatic rise of poultry farming in Nigeria is the non-dependence one educational background. Every citizen can practice the occupation, irrespective of his or her educational status.
The profession can also be pursued with limited capital and resources, but huge return on investment is assured IF you are meticulous and diligent in how you set up and run your operations.
Another reason for the rising success of this field is the growing rate of chickens. A chicken becomes fully-developed and matures quite faster. For instance, a goat takes a time span of 2-3 years to mature completely, but within 28 weeks from birth, a chicken can reach a fit state and size that it can be sold at market.
Poultry farming is a continuous source of income. It is not seasonal and can produce income for the entire year. While chickens lay eggs between 6 to 8 months, broilers take only 6 to 10 weeks to bring in income. Meat, eggs, feathers and manure of chicken and broilers are all saleable and income generating.
There is a very good market for poultry products. Eggs are always in demand from both individuals and companies. Companies such as bakeries, restaurants, hotels, etc use eggs for making scotch eggs, cakes, etc. While individuals love using eggs to eat bread, yam and to bake as well.
The good thing about poultry (layers) is that after they have spent 18 months laying eggs for you, you can sell them off at a higher price than you bought them. If you can time the sales of your old layers (that is what they call layers that have reached the end of their laying cycle) to coincide with a festive period like Christmas or Easter, I tell you, people will fight among themselves just to buy your chickens!
There’s a very good market, all-year-round, for everything that your poultry farm produces. Selling any of your products will never be a problem. Poultry farming in Nigeria is a business with a very strong cash flow
Poultry farming in a small scale requires only minimum space and they can be reared even in the backyards of homes. Poultry farming requires very little water for both drinking and cleaning. One litre of water is sufficient for 5 birds for a day.
Poultry droppings are rich in nitrogen and organic material and hence, are considered valuable as fertilizers. Poultry feathers are also used for making pillows, fancy articles and curios. Poultry offers good full time or part-time employment opportunity to farmers.
Poultry products like egg and meat have high nutritional value. Among all edible meat, broiler meat has the least fat content. It can also be cooked in its own fat and does not require any from outside. Poultry meat contains more protein and essential amino acids than other meats and are low in its cholesterol content in comparison.
Every business has advantages and disadvantages. So poultry as it were is not an exception. No miracle is going to happen except you made it. Like my teacher used to say back then in secondary school, “No manna from heaven” and same thing happens here. You can always expect positive result as well as negative result.
Before you venture into poultry farming business, you need to seat back and do proper calculation and planning; make sure you have idea of all the costs involved.
Poultry farming is a good business to go into and it has unique strong points and weak points.
The trick in poultry farming is to know the techniques and practices that will reduce mortality (or death rate) and boost growth and production.
Going into poultry farming without a practical knowledge of the venture is direct invitation to failure. It is very important for the would-be farmer to know how to keep the chicken or birds in an acceptable manner.
Oba lagbe. I remembered a song I used to enjoy many years ago on Radio Lagos 103.5: “Esagbe eroko kale k’apa ebi, ounje jije l’oree agba…
I have a dream that one day farming will be so lucrative that after a good degree in the humanities, people will go back to the farm to make a living out of mechanized agriculture not the hoe and cutlass type invented by our great grandfathers centuries ago which we have not improved upon as if we are brain dead!