This blog is a part of series where I cover agriculture in Africa, all the people were interviews by myself. We will start with Nigeria, covering the politry industry and then go into South Africa covering the very serious issue of farm attacks. This will be covered over multiple articles.
While poultry farming usually covers the farming of a wide range of birds, in Nigeria’s scenario and in the case of this article, it’s 99% chicken farming.
The benefits of the Nigerian chicken farming industry is, believe it or not, it’s quality. There’s little to no mass chicken production across the country and so everything is done on a smaller scale.
Chickens are fed organic chicken feed, are usually free range chickens and live a healthy and happy life – key variable in the health of chicken. The modern chicken industry is known for feeding antibiotics to the birds.
Olu the poultry farmer
Olu is based in a rural area in Kano state in Nigeria, he adds 800 chickens a month. He told us of many challenges he faces in the poultry industry of Nigeria.
“There’s a lot of problems, when I just started I didn’t know what and where to get. I had to do my research, I found a mentor and the agriculture commission was also helpful.”
He told us that the biggest problem really was just getting started in the poultry business – information and access to the equipment needed. Poultry farmers need:
- Chicken feed recipes
- Day old chickens
- Housing equipment – lights, gates, incubator, laying nests, fences
- Storage units for eggs (can be quite expensive considering the need for cooling)
- Cages to transport the chickens to the markets
Olu: “It’s a struggle to find these things, even now, after 3 years in the business. I tried looking for these things on the internet and discovered a website that lets me network and connect with other tradespeople. I was able to source everything I needed there.”
Some of the chicken farming equipment farmers like Olu are forced to lend to the traders. For instance, the chicken cages, he would load the grown up chickens ready for sale into and then they go to Lagos.
This means that Olu has to pay double the transportation – to bring the chickens to Lagos as well as to bring the cages back. Some farmers work with traders that buy directly and sort their own transportation, but it cuts into the profits of the farmer.
Olu has done a customized van just for transporting of the chickens and also rents it out to others in the region: “I use my own van that I specially made for chickens. It has the cages in-built in the storage place.”
We were unable to snap a picture of the “chicken transportation van” as it was in transit during our visit.
This is just one of the issues Olu faces, we will cover a lot more on the part 2 of this article, including an interview with a Lagos trader to get his perspective. We also spoke to a “middleman” who transports poultry products from states like Kano to the big trading hubs like Lagos. So stay tuned for more!