Poultry farming is the process of rearing poultry birds, solely for human consumption. It is one of the top profitable businesses in Nigeria due to high demand for chicken meat and eggs in Nigeria and abroad.
While poultry farming may be profitable, it also comes with its attendant problems. Like in all ventures, there are problems peculiar to poultry farmers in Nigeria, and this article seeks to address them by suggesting solutions to these problems.
A talk with some Nigerian poultry farmers exposed certain problems they are facing in poultry farming, problems which if not handled, will impede the continuous development of poultry farming in Nigeria.
The following problems are faced by Nigerian poultry farmers;
- Financial restraints:
In poultry farming, the amount of capital available to you, determines the scale of your poultry farm, and the equipments you would have. While starting a poultry farm might not require huge capital as you can start small, scaling and maintaining it, in order to realize huge returns, requires enough capital.
However, Nigerian poultry farmers have limited access to funds and even when they do get access, the interest rates are so high, that they are almost more than the capital received. With financial restraints, they cannot access quality feeds, proper equipment and even regular vaccinations. Many Nigerian poultry farmers have been forced to cut corners, due to lack of adequate funds.
- Diseases and parasites:
Disease outbreak is another problem affecting poultry farmers in Nigeria. It causes loss of eggs, loss of the birds, and sometimes reduced production. Disease outbreak can also reduce the market price of the birds. If left unchecked, it can destroy a poultry farm like a fire outbreak.
Like in the case of the avian flu, when diseases are epidemic, it can reduce exports, as customers from other countries will refrain from buying from an epidemic country.
- High cost of feed:
Increase in cost of poultry feed is slowly destroying poultry business in Nigeria. Feeding is an essential part of poultry farming, because the quality and quantity of feed will determine the growth and production of the birds.
Size of egg, quality of the egg and shell is determined by the level of essential nutrients like vitamin D, calcium and other minerals, in the feed. W hen quality is compromised as some poultry farmers are forced to do due to the high cost of feed, the desired quality of eggs and chicken meat will not be achieved.
With high cost of feed, low profits may be realized as the cost of feeding birds may not match sales of the birds.
- Low price of egg:
With the decrease in demand for eggs, poultry farmers are forced to sell eggs at cheaper prices, or else they are left with crates and crates of eggs. These cheaper prices may not cover the cost of production and at the end of the day they are cutting losses, instead of making profits. When you add this problem to the high cost of feed, the poultry farmer is left running at a loss.
- Access to the right breeds:
Getting the right breed of poultry birds is essential to the proper functioning of your poultry farm. Some Nigerian poultry farmers get the wrong breeds that are prone to diseases. The poultry farmers find themselves in situations where they are always treating sick birds that are making little or no profit. So, having access to healthy day old chicks is one of the major problems facing Nigerian poultry farmers.
- Lack of knowledge:
Most small scale poultry farmers in Nigeria do not have access to the right knowledge about the business they are into, therefore they do not know about the proper practices to curb losses of eggs and birds. Some of these farmers do not know how to prevent disease outbreak in their poultry farms, neither do they know how to properly incubate their eggs to avoid losses. Having access to the right information is a major problem for Nigerian poultry farmers.
- Cost of drugs and vaccination:
The high cost of drugs and vaccinations needed to keep poultry birds healthy is another major problem. To cope with the high cost of drugs and vaccinations, Nigerian poultry farmers are forced to resort to fake drugs and vaccinations, which have no effect on the diseases.
Ways to Mitigate these Problems.
- Agricultural banks should provide easy access to credit facilities, and at lower interest rates, to enable poultry farmers access to loans.
- Government subsidies can help in the procurement of feed, drugs and vaccines.
- Poultry farmers’ cooperative societies should expose their members to relevant information about poultry farming. With the right information, a lot of disasters will be prevented.
- A stable market price for eggs and other poultry products should be regulated.