As local demand for Chicken rises above two million metric tonnes annually, Nigerian farmers are only managing to produce a meager 300,000 metric tonnes, creating a short fall of more than 1.7m metric tonnes.
Despite the shortfall, which amounts to over 70 per cent, there is sustained high demand for chicken, especially for home consumption, fast food operators, super markets, and likewise during festive periods.
To fill this gap, consumers are forced to source for the meat from foreign countries, by all means, especially through smuggling, which has remained unabated. 1.2m metric tonnes of frozen chickens are reportedly smuggled into the country annually, not minding health hazards arising from its consumption.
Government, which appears to be at the receiving end of revenue loss, as a result of the thriving smuggling business, has brought little or no solution to address the shortfall.
Olam Nigeria, a fully owned subsidiary of Olam International Limited, has established a state-of-the-art Integrated Poultry facility, in Kaduna, Kaduna State, comprising of hatchery and poultry farm, on one hand, and feed mill factory, on the other, to close the wide chicken deficit, by creating high-end chicken in Nigeria, for Nigeria.
In the past 27 years, the company says it has expanded from cashew into cocoa, sesame, rice, wheat milling, biscuits, confectionary, dairy products, noodles and kitchen ingredients, such as tomato paste and seasoning.
The company said its success has been based on delivering value to farmers, customers and consumers through best in class operational capabilities and long term commitment to develop the country’s agricultural supply chains.
The poultry farm, located at Chikpiri Gabas Village, Gwagwada, Kaduna, with investment value of US$100 million, and billed to be commissioned on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, has the production capacity of 1.65 million chicks per week-0.65 million Layers (for eggs); 0.65 million Cockerels (for backyard meat production); and 0.35 million Broilers (for organised meat production).
Through this, The Guardian learnt, that Olam would therefore contribute to the development of the Nigerian poultry sector by providing not only competitively priced feed and chicks, but also technical support to local poultry farmers.
Described as first of its kind in West Africa, with modern equipment to raise the bar in poultry industry, it would serve as boost to the country’s agricultural transformation agenda, as well as support government’s food security plan, as the farm would help the country to be self-sufficient on meat, thereby saving $150m to $200m per year in foreign exchange costs. It will also provide chickens that can compete with imported products.
Conducting Journalists round the facility, Business Head-Animal Protein, Olam Hatcheries Limited, Dr. Vinod Kumar Mishra, said the poultry and hatchery will produce four billion eggs and 100 million Kg of poultry meat for the country annually, which is an equivalent of 25 eggs and 0.5kg of chicken per person.
He revealed that the farm has adopted strict adherence to rigorous international benchmarks for quality and safety-single-stage and hatchers to maintain full all-in-all-out controls for high chick uniformity; and full vaccination programme and environment-controlled transportation to ensure healthy chicks.
In all the farms, The Guardian observed that all activities from feeding, water supply, treatment, ventilation systems, to illumination and other processes are automated. All the activities were timed, for instance, when its time to feed, the equipment will automatically pass the food from the silos to the feeders. The same thing goes for water and treatment. Even the illumination is automatically regulated, to suit the condition of the chicks as determined by the weather.
Minimum protocol on biosecurity has been put in place, with strict compliance to prevent rampaging diseases, especially bird flu. At the Layers Rearing farm, the Farm Manager, Dr. Abubakar Sidibe, disclosed that each of the farms under him are managed by qualified Veterinary doctors, who oversee the chicks from day-old till the production age, when they are ready to be transferred. He carried journalists through the processes, which as observed has taken poultry industry to another level.
The Farm Breeders Manager, Dr. Jesse Jediah, who explained that the farm uses veterinarians as farm attendants, to ensure best practices and employ more veterinarians, by giving them exposure to the latest poultry technology in the world-automated poultry, said if three of such farm can be established in Nigeria, the country’s poultry sector will be transformed, to ensure self-sufficiency in Africa.
He lamented that only rich people are investing in poultry industry, because it is capital intensive, appealing to government to make things easy for people, irrespective of their financial status to invest in the industry.
According to Mishra; “There will be training for local farmers on best poultry practices via our 15 field veterinarians; two year in-house internship offered to 60 veterinarians, which would be taking from top 10 million Nigerian colleges; and a pilot programme for modern Cluster Poultry Farms: each cluster will be collectively owned by 25-30 farmers. This has the potential to lower Nigerian poultry prices by up to 20-25 per cent by developing operational efficiencies.
“This farm will be helping local communities to thrive by facilitating direct employment of 500-600 workers and a potential ripple effect of 300,000 to 400,000 jobs for local rural youth as they see opportunity to become poultry farmers. We are also working with various state governments to enable a regular supply of eggs for school meal programmes at below-market prices,” he stated.
There are five hatchers in the farm, each of them are expected to produce 38,400 day-old-chicks per day. On the feed mill, which sits on 844 hectares, with 150,000mt storage capacity, the company says it will address the poultry feed supply gap in Northern Nigeria, filling the 40 per cent gap in the animal feed market.
The mill boasts of producing Growers mash, Broilers mash, layers 1 –mash, layers 2-mash, chick mash, broiler mash finisher, broiler super starter, and pre layers mash.
The Guardian observed that there is a control room that gives details on feed processing and recipe control, keeping tract of production processes, with a large capacity silos.
There is also a complete laboratory where feed ingredients are tested. It contains equipment, where complete sampling and analysis are done, with different parameters for different samplings.
One of the advantages of the mill is that it would spur domestic poultry feed crop production by sourcing majority of feed ingredients from local farmers. For instance, 180,000mt of corn and 75,000mt of soybeans would be sourced from local farmers. There is also hope of procuring soybeans from more than 200,000 smallholder farmers, who produce approximately 200,000mt. It is also developing an agronomy programme to increase local soybean production from 0.5m mt to two million metric tonnes over the next five years.
“We are helping soybean farmers to increase their income due to our global market access-100, 000mt of soybean exported to Europe annually. We have adopted strict adherence to rigorous international benchmarks for quality and safety. One entry-level brand, Chikun, and one premium brand, Ultima. Both are fortified with different amino acids, vitamins, minerals and feed additives to meet national and international standards.
“State-of-the-art feed laboratory to assure quality at each stage of production, from inspecting, through sampling and analysis of raw materials and finished product before dispatch. It will also create jobs and build skills to further develop the poultry feed sector with the direct employment of 150 workers and an additional 200 indirect jobs.”
Allaying fears that the farm would drive existing poultry farmers out of market, Mishra said the farm is meant to support all farmers, especially small-scale poultry farmers to give them healthy chicks at lower prices, to develop their businesses.
“We are not producing the layers and broilers to compete with those already in the market. We are here to grow the industry and not to kill it. We are here to streamline the industry so that everybody gets the best and to make it affordable to all.
“We have put in place minimum protocol on biosecurity, there is need for all farmers to adopt this. If this is not followed, bird flu will not be eradicated in Nigeria. We also have hectares of land for soybeans plantation for production of our feeds. This project will be a complete value chain, it’s a win-win situation, and everybody will gain.”
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