BY KINGSLEY OKOH |
Egg production is a substantial portion of the value chain in the poultry sub-sector. It boosts local content utilisation with high demand in confectionary business, cosmetic production, beverages, household consumption, manufacturing and industrial sector. In spite of the harsh economic realities and challenges facing the poultry sector, economists and policy makers argue that poultry farming has the potential to solve the problems of meat supply in the country.
To this end, Mrs. Funke Egbetokun, a livestock farmer and Egg distributor, in an interview, explained the challenges, processes, growers’ advice, recommendations and investment opportunities in poultry farming as she builds capacity in poultry business to weather the storm of retirement from civil service.
Egbetokun disclosed that to invest in table eggs production in Nigeria for start-ups cost at least N1 million of which a larger chunk would be used to purchase birds, pen construction and minimal land space. Birds domestication involves feeding with good food, administering drugs and injection of poultry vaccines, she said.
She disclosed that one major issue in the production of eggs, is the glut of antibiotics usage among poultry farmers, stating that many laying birds have too much deposits of antibiotics in them.
The livestock farmer notes that one of the gluts of poultry closure is the injection of antibiotics, administering of strange drugs to birds to fatten up as local production falls short of the demand, hence, leading to high mortality in poultry birds.
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“Though, Egg supply business in the agricultural value-chain is worth billions of Naira in the Nigerian market, anyone who ventures into poultry farming should be prepared to face supply and distribution hurdles,” she said.
She adds that in order to transport eggs from one place to another in large quantity to the market, there’s need for a viable transport system to convey the eggs from the poultry farm for distribution to the retailers and other chains of suppliers in the market to avoid breaks, cracks, losses and wastage.
She says Nigeria poultry faces investment challenges, adding that, the most widely discussed is the high cost of feeds which gulps 80 per cent of budget on food, adding that with young farmers joining the industry, Nigeria is turning the issue to its advantage.
Egbetokun suggests that Nigerians should diversify their income by expanding apprenticeship programmes to develop skills and talents to do business in innovative ways. Many families and small scale businesses are at a breaking point. It is time to address the country’s need by diversifying the economy, while advising individuals who might be willing to make a fortune to venture into poultry business. “It’s a lucrative business, but you have to undergo training to venture into it,” she pointed out.