Do you know livestock farming in Nigeria is a gold mine? And I mean it literally. Because livestock income can produced actual gold, and its the reason everyone should have a livestock farm. However, it requires hard work and patience but that is where some people get a bit discouraged.
Human beings need food and the major food sources are plants and livestock. Therefore, if we’d be feeding on them, they should be reproduced so that there is enough for everyone and they don’t go extinct.
The agricultural sector in Nigeria is one that needs more development and spotlight. Gone are the days when agriculture was done by only the poor and illiterate. Nevertheless, more people, especially young people are coming into the knowledge of the prospects of agriculture and farming to their financial status and the economy of the country.
What is Livestock Farming?
Primarily, livestock farming involves breeding and managing domestic livestock for human consumption, for their meats and products. Livestock products include eggs, milk, wool, leather, manure, horns, bones, and etcetera.
Types of Livestock Farming In Nigeria
- Poultry farming
- Pig farming
- Cattle farming
- Snail farming
- Fish farming
- Sheep farming
- Goat farming
- Rabbit farming
- Duck farming
- Grasscutter farming
How Livestock Farming Works
For the most part, in Nigeria livestock farming is usually done at a subsistent level. It’s mostly small scale farmers who engage in livestock farming to feed their families and sell the remnant to buy other foodstuff they need.
Types of Livestock Farming
There are several types of livestock farming system you can adopt in Nigeria. Below are the different systems of farming livestock that you can apply to your farm business.
- Intensive Livestock Farming
- Defining Intensive Livestock Farming
- Semi-intensive Livestock Farming
- Extensive Livestock Farming
- Nomadic Livestock Farming
- Transhumant Livestock Farming
- Organic Livestock Farming
Intensive Livestock Farming
As the name implies, intensive livestock farming is the process in which the livestock is housed, to provide the right temperature, feeding time, monitored healthcare, with the intension to produce fatter and healthier livestock.
Also, it involves the selection of breeds, depending on the types of production. However, intensive livestock farming is both capital and labor intensive.
Benefits of Livestock Farming
There are so many benefits to derive from livestock farming. But let’s look at some of the benefits of livestock farming in Nigeria. In line with the definition of livestock farming as:
- The development of humanity and the economy of the world
- Generation of high-quality food products such as meat, egg, milk, cheese, etc.
- Food processing industries, handicrafts, tourism and general hospitality
- Employment opportunity generation and as a source of income
- Personal hobby for some people
- Foreign exchange generation through export
- Also, livestock can be used for some special farm operations like plowing, harrowing and etcetera.
How to Start Raising Livestock
Starting out on livestock farming business require you to acquire relevant knowledge about livestock types, their different species for commercial farming, management methods for effective product, and understand of the market to help you dispose off your livestock on maturity.
Furthermore, you need to know how to prepare the land and housing for the types of livestock you intend to farm. You will also need to learn about food types and feeding method of the livestock.
Revenue Potentials Of Livestock Farming
Livestock farming is capable of producing wealth for anyone, as long as you know what you’re doing. Interestingly, the rate at which some of them produce gains would return the cost you spent on starting up and give you some extra profit within two years.
For instance, in a poultry business where you’re breeding layers, they start laying eggs at around 18 weeks of age. If you have 100 hens and each produces one egg a day, the eggs produced in 365 days equals 36,500.
And if eggs sells for N80 each, 36500 eggs would give you N2,92,000 in a year. Now, multiple that income by 10 or 20, assuming you started with 1,000 or 2,000 layers.
Opportunities In Livestock Farming
As a rule, investing in livestock involves acquiring a number of them, raising them till they mature and selling them at a much higher price. This kind of investment is fascinating because you see the livestock grow daily and appreciate right in front of you.
Although, investing in livestock farming have a certain level of risk but then, which business doesn’t. These risks are the challenges facing livestock businesses, some of which includes disease outbreak and high cost of feed.
Notes that risks can be reduced to absolute minimal with solutions like a vaccination that reduces the possibility of a disease outbreak. Therefore, the risks are not crippling. As long as you cater to the health of your livestock and give them what they need, they’ll be fine.
Moreover, to start any livestock business, there’s a need for a startup cost. This startup cost is required to cover the land, farmhouse, feed, younglings to be bred, water and all necessary infrastructure. Also, the startup cost differs from business to business. It solely depends on what each business requires.
Challenges Of Livestock Farming
The problem of capital is one that most new farmers face. But the capital needed for the startup of a livestock business can be a little on the high side sometimes and this can be overwhelming for a new farmer. Also, saving, loans, borrowing from friends and family, and government grants or aids are possible helps that can lift this problem.
Obtaining a Land:
Additionally, a good land with valuable soil for farming and livestock breeding might be hard to come by. This is due to various reasons which include the high price of land, swindlers posing as landowners and finding quality lands in good locations.
Good transportation is a major issue for farmers. When the roads connecting farms with markets are poor and dysfunctional, they cause harm to the animals being transported and can even lead to the death of some animals and damage to farm products.
Apart from roads, other transport systems like the railway are not really efficient in Nigeria. The railway transport system is a very effective way to transport farm products and livestock animals due to the stability and maximum safety it offers. Therefore, this aspect of transportation must be awoken.
Disease outbreak among livestock animal is as real their dung and anything else that’s real about them. An uncontrolled disease outbreak in a farm of livestock animals has the capacity of causing a mass death or low productivity of the animals.
The feed livestock animals consume take up a high percentage of expenses. This is caused by the elevated price of processed feeds.
This problem can be countered by preparing the animals’ feed by yourself. This method is cheaper and helps you use the saved amount for something else.
How to Overcome The Challenges
Enlightenment: More people need to be enlightened that agriculture isn’t just a rough work that yields nothing but a gold mine that needs to be tapped into.
Nigerians, the young and old must see agriculture in a new light. It’s happening already but it needs to spread throughout the country till we all become agri-knowing.
Livestock businesses require investment and this investment can be difficult to get sometimes. This is where government aids should come in. Aids to assist farmers, especially new ones, to fund their business and provide essential mechanical tools to facilitate their work.
Fixing The Transport System:
For proper and safe transport of livestock and food products, the transportation systems in Nigeria has to be fixed. Railway transport should be improved and made better and road transport restored
Vaccination and Medical Checks:
Diseases are a major issue in all livestock farms. They can however be reduced by regular medical checks of every animal. These checks would ensure that the animals are in good shape and sick animals would be spotted and separated during the checks.
Furthermore, vaccination is also an important preventive measure to avoid the spread of diseases. Livestock animals should be given the necessary vaccine to strengthen their immune system against the invasion of diseases.
In summary, livestock farming has its challenges but these challenges don’t trump the many benefits and gains they bring. As more light is shed on livestock businesses and as more people engage in them, the unemployed would have jobs and food security would increase in the country.