Cucumber Farming Business in Nigeria – A Step by Step Guide
Growing Cucumbers – advice on how to grow Cucumbers
Cucumbers are straight forward to grow and grow up they will as they are a climbing vine.
They are a member of the cucurbitaceae family which includes melons and squashes and as such like a warm well drained soil.
Cucumbers can be eaten fresh or they can be pickled. Cucumbers that are eaten fresh are known as Slicing varieties and Cucumbers that are pickled are known as pickling varieties.
Cucumbers contain nutrients that are especially beneficial to our skin, hair and nails.
Dig a fair amount of organic compost into the soil. The soil should be turned over down to about a spades depth.
You can start your plants off indoors by sowing in biodegradeable seedling pots that will ensure roots are not damaged when you plant out the seedlings. Do not plant out before the last frost.
Leave a gap of around 40cm between seedlings. If growing from seed you can group sow 3 seeds in each hole to increase chances of germination success. Seeds should be planted 2.5cm deep.
If you are planting more than one row then rows should be spaced at around 90cm.
Cucumbers need a good amount of sunshine and warmth. They are a green house favourite. Ensure that you have adequate space as Cucumbers can rapidly reach around 6 feet. Where space is limited train the plant against a wall, stake or trellice. They may also spread over the ground if you have the space.
A well drained soil is important for cucumbers and so they are often planted in raised beds around 6 inches high. Cucumbers will thrive in a sandy loam soil. Ensure the soil has a good amount of organic matter within it, manure will give the plants the nutrients they require.
Weed regularly but be careful not to go below a couple of cm’s with your hoe as you may damage the root system which will slow down plant growth.
Water the cucumbers well each week if you want them to be juicy and firm! The cucumber fruit itself has a very high water content.
The plant has both male and female flowers and the female flowers give rise to the cucumbers. You can aid pollination and increase the fruit count by using a cotton bud to transfer pollen from the male flowers onto the centre of the female flowers. The female flowers distinguished from the male flowers as the females have a tiny cucumber at their base.
You can harvest the cucumbers when they are a suitable size, this is normally around 50-60 days after planting. The skin should be dark green in colour, do now wait until the cucumbers have turned yellow as this indicates that they are over ripe and their quality of flavour will decline.
Twist the cucumbers off the plant or cut the stalk just above the cucumber tip.
Pickling varieties tend to grow to around 7-10 cm long and up to 2.5cm wide. Slicing varieties grow bigger (up to around 35cm) but can still be picked for pickling when they are smaller. The Burpless variety is easy to digest and has a good flavour.
How To Start A Lucrative Rabbit Farming Business In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide
Rabbit farming is an agribusiness with a huge market, especially due to statistics showing that over 1 million tonnes of rabbit meat is consumed yearly around the world. This livestock farming business hasn’t just proven to be a great source of income to thousands of people worldwide, but has also been identified as a great source of food for parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
These small mammals belong to the family Leporidae and can be found in many countries around the world like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, and many other places. Their natural habitats are usually the meadows, grasslands, forests, wetlands, deserts, and several others, where they cuddle up and live in groups, usually underground.
While rabbit farming is big in several parts of Africa, over half of the world’s rabbits are located in North America, showing the export potential of any large rabbit farm that starts up from an African country.
What Is Rabbit Farming About?
Rabbit farming is the commercial rearing of a single or different rabbit breeds primarily for sale, to be used as food and several other purposes.
Business Opportunities In Rabbit Farming Around The World
The volume of rabbit products consumed yearly is in a far excess of over 1 million tonnes, which invariably creates a great business opportunity to be explored by many farmers around the world.
Although the largest rabbit farms are located far away in North America, African farms are slowly rising, and the export potential of the livestock due to its primary use as a unique type of meat source, creates an opportunity for any farmer who wants to venture into a livestock farming business that generates revenues largely in foreign currencies.
Facts And Benefits Of Rabbit Farming
1). Rabbits grow very fast
2). There are little to no religious limitations on consuming rabbits
3). They’re cheaper to raise than other larger livestocks.
4). A rabbit can bear 2 to 8 kittens at a go.
5). Rabbits are a great substitute for poultry products
6). Lesser and cheaper labour can be employed to run a rabbit farm
7). Grasses, leaves, and some type of wastes can be great rabbit meals
8). Rabbit meats are highly nutritious, tasty, and easily digestible
The Popular Rabbit Breeds
1). New Zealand White:
Theses rabbits are usually fully white, small to medium sized, and can reach a lifetime maturity of 3 to 5kg.
2). British Giant:
The British Giants are very large rabbits often reaching an average weight of 6-7kg at adulthood. Their furs are smooth, medium length, and can be kept in top condition by regular grooming.
These rabbits are small to medium sized and can weigh an average size of 2.5kg when they reach adulthood. Their coats are of medium-sized and need regular grooming to stay in perfect condition.
4). Dutch Rabbits:
Just as the Chinchilla, they are also small to medium sized and can weigh between 2 to 2.5kg when they are fully mature. Their furs are short and just as every other rabbit, needs to be groomed on a daily basis. As a breed, they’re gentle and easy-going.
5). English Angora:
The English Angora are usually medium sized and can reach between 2 to 3 kg when they reach adulthood. Their furs are very long, thick, and covers the entire rabbit, including the face and the stand-up ears. They can be in many colours. They are very sociable and good natured
6). Dwarf Lop:
The dwarfs are small to medium sized and reach an average weight of 2 to 2.5 kg when they reach maturity. Their furs are soft, dense, and require grooming 2 to 3 times a week to keep the coat in top condition.
7). English Lop:
These are large rabbits that reach a peak weight of 5kg when they are fully mature. Their coats are short but need weekly grooming to be in top shape.
8). Flemish Giant:
These very large rabbits can reach a peak weight of 6 to 7 kg at maturity. They have a smooth coat with a dense undercoat, so grooming them regularly is important to keep their coats in top condition. They’re often referred to as the “friendly giants”.
9). English Spot:
This medium sized rabbits usually reach an average body weight of about 3kg at maturity. These breed are usually good natured, friendly, and inquisitive.
Setting Up Your Rabbit Farming Business
1). Choose A Farming Method:
After deciding to start up a rabbit farming business, the first step is to determine what type of farm to run. Some factors to consider in choosing the housing type are the cost, access to light and fresh air, protection from the sun, and the spaciousness (usually 2 to 10 feet between rabbits) of the barn.
There are two primary types of rabbit farming methods and their mode of operations vary. They are:
a). Deep Litter Method:
This method is highly recommended if you intend to raise a few rabbits. Here, the litter husk is about 4 to 5 inches in depth with straw, hay and wood shavings. In this method, the floor should be concrete and the capacity would usually be about 25 to 35 rabbits.
While the chances of a disease outbreak in this system is high, the male rabbits should usually be kept in a separate compartment from the female rabbits, except for copulation purposes.
b). Cage Method:
The cage method is highly effective for a commercial rabbit farming business. Here, the rabbits are usually kept in cages that are made of wire because, this is a highly effective way to raise so many rabbits in an organised environment. Each rabbit in this setting should have a space of about two feet wide, three feet long, and two feet high. In summary, there must be enough room for the young rabbits to move around in.
No matter the size of the cage, it must be raised high enough to enable you rake out the manure a lot easier.
2). Care And Feeding:
Every rabbit has its own temperament level. Some are easy to take care of and others can be really difficult to deal with. To feed the rabbits, ensure they have a regular feed of their pellets together with a lot of water, at least three times daily. You can also put in lettuce or cabbage leafs in their pens once in a while for them to chew on.
Your rabbits should also be well fed at night because, rabbits are nocturnal animals and largely prefer to feed at night. So feeding them well in the evenings is very important.
If you intend to introduce a new type of meal to your rabbits, do it slowly, as it can upset their digestive system.
3). Breeding Stock:
At six months old, a female rabbit is ready to be bred. Then, she can be put in the buck’s pen for reproduction. The bucks should never be left in the female’s pen. Put them together to mate for a period of at least 15 minutes.
Ensure you record the date of the mating. Note the buck that was used and which female rabbit it mated with. The male rabbit shouldn’t ideally be used for reproduction more than once in four days.
Any female rabbit that is rebred after her offsprings her weaned, will produce about four litters in a year. If you’re running a commercial rabbit farming business, you can schedule the mating of the rabbits every two to three weeks, but if they aren’t necessarily for commercial purposes, the mating can be scheduled every six weeks.
By the time a female rabbit has reproduced for a period of about 5 years, she should be replaced with a much younger doe, but if after mating, she only produces about two or three kids in two breedings straight, the rabbit should be sold off, to afford wasting rabbit feed on poor reproductive animals.
To effectively sell your rabbits, you’d have to create your own market. You can start by marketing your rabbits online through the techniques listed in this other article, selling to restaurants and bars that prepare rabbit meat, and most especially contacting international clients that need a steady supply of rabbits exported to them in whatever country they’re in.
Challenges Of Rabbit Farming
The challenges of rabbit farming mostly ranges between these listed below:
1). Inadequate supply of a sort-after rabbit breed.
2) Poor marketing.
3). Pests and diseases.
4). Unproductive rabbit stock.
5). Low quality feed from local suppliers.
6). Lack of experience.
7). Production constraints
8). Poor construction of rabbit hutches
Rabbit farming is one lucrative livestock farming business that could be executed largely for exportation purposes in many places around the world, especially Europe. If you plan to start up a rabbit farming business, this guide can form the foundation of your understanding as you proceed.
How to make money from quail farming
Quail farming can be a lucrative business like other farming ventures, such as chicken, turkey or duck farming in Nigeria. But rearing of quail is still an uncommon business in the country because the bird is one of the smallest poultry birds.
Ironically, just few people are into the business of the ‘little wonder bird’, as many people called it, and making cool cash and smiling to their banks. This set of people are also enjoying both the nutritional and health values derived from consuming the meat and the eggs of the bird. It is on records that some farmers are making between N700,000 and N1.3 million every year from raising quail birds for meat, eggs and hatchery production.
Due to its nutritional values and health benefits, experts predicted that quail would soon take over the chicken poultry business. Starting quail farming requires a little capital of N20,000. The low cost of investment of rearing quail and the high rate of returns are some of the reasons farmers are venturing into quail farming.
Without expensive items, a potential farmer can start with N20, 000, which means the farmer can kick-start with five males and 25 females depending on the age and specie. The birds can be reared in cages and small floor space. But sometimes, experts advise that potential farmers should always consider cages to rear their birds because it is more efficient than that of floor space.
Interestingly, quails take about five to six weeks to mature and their meat is highly recommended for people keen on boosting their immunity. Their eggs are wonderful super-food that can treat various ailments, which makes it more profitable to keep quails, as they are less demanding than chicken.
Presently, a kilogramme of chicken meat goes for N700 on average in Nigeria, quail, which hardly weighs half–a–kilogrammes at maturity attracts N800. The little wonder bird has the ability to lay over 300 eggs in a year and one egg costs N30 to N40 because of the health benefits, which include, treatment of anaemia, arthritis, gastritis, removal of toxins and heavy metals from the blood; strong anti-cancer effects, and may help inhibit cancerous growth, nourish the prostate gland and may help restore sexual potency in men, enhance good memory and brain activity, slow down ageing of organs and the eggs are used for facial masks and hair care.
Its major nutrition are Vitamin B-12 (Cobalamine) 0.14 µg (5.83 per cent), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.071 mg (5.46 per cent), Selenium, Se 2.9 µg (5.27 per cent), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.158 mg (3.16 per cent) among others.
A quail egg, even with their small size, is packed with vitamins and minerals and its nutritional value is three to four times greater than that of chicken egg. If children eat at least two eggs of quail daily, they grow better and are less likely to suffer from infectious diseases.
Feeding quails has never been a headache for farmers because a quail eats 20 grammes of food per day and hardly requires any drugs unlike a mature chicken-hen that consumes an average of 150 grammes of food per day and requires a regular administration of drugs.
Before venturing into this profitable business, potential farmers have to prepare an effective business plan. A perfect quail farming business plan should include almost everything related to this business such as your production purpose, products you want to produce, housing, feeding, breeding, health care and marketing.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the owner of FeedPlus, Sani Abdul, said there are varieties of quails one can rear. They include Bobwhite Quail, Button Quail, California Quail, Japanese Quail, Mountain Quail, Gambel’s Quail, Scaled Quail and Mearn’s Quail. He said the Japanese quail is more medicinal, which is common in Nigeria.
On their feeding, he said: “when we talk about poultry feed, all of them are the same. The different is the poultry content just like we have layers, growers and starters etc. quail can be fed with poultry feed but it depends on the stage they are. The only difference is marsh because quails are smaller birds. If you want to grind their feed, it has to be softer”. You know chickens are bigger than quail. If you are using chicken formula to grind quails feed, it has to be re-ground in order to be soft. If you are using quail formulated formula.”
He said the market for quail is available because Nigeria has the population except farmers don’t know how to do their marketing. He added that quail is one of the easiest birds to raise.
He explained: “making cash with quails is not tough. They are straightforward to worry for and their products are straightforward to plug. In fact, raising dozen of quails in your backyard could be a good way to supplement your income, The basic business for creating cash with quails involves you purchasing baby quails from a hatchery and raising them till they are either laying eggs or mature for meat production. You will get additional profit by selling baby quails and compose quails manure.”
Turkey farming business in Nigeria (How to Start & Make Money)
I started my first business before I was a boy of 15. Today I run my company in Lagos and operate in different states of Nigeria.
Make sure you read every word of this post and come back to download my 2 free business books HERE
Do you know that rearing turkey or turkey farming business is a good and lucrative business to venture in Nigeria?
We might have been hearing a lot about chicken farming, broilers farming, and layers farming but little efficacy has been placed on turkey farming.
Though some people who might have heard about how lucrative this business is do not really make moves on how to gain and maintain this hidden treasure instead, they rear it seasonally, or for a very short period of time, and then stop.
How about if I tell you that, you can set up a turkey farming business in Nigeria, and make this business as a normal business which can solve your daily needs and still save for futures expenses.
Now, it might be interesting to know that there is no special way to start up a turkey farming business. The same method for rearing broilers or layers can also be used.
How high is the demand of turkey meat in Nigeria?
Or how profitable is turkey farming business in Nigeria?
It might be pleasing to inform you that poultry production in Nigeria is really an advantageous and a profitable business in Nigeria, more than you even imagined.
Since the Federal Government placed a ban on the importation of frozen food, Nigerians have been producing turkey locally to meet the demand of turkey consumers in Nigeria.
Yet, the turkey meat being produced is still not sufficient to those who need it. So, you see, you don’t need to wait for the approaching Esther or Christmas to rear your turkeys; turkey farming in Nigeria needs more investors.
Though, most turkey farmers do complain that after rearing their turkey, it is difficult to find buyer because some buyers might not want to purchase it because of the high price (most times ranging from #10,000- #15,000-#25,000 depending on the sizes or weight) Let me inform you that aside, direct buyers, you can also sell your turkey to those who are into frozen foods or you can process your turkey into frozen food and sell them to local buyers or market sellers, all you need to do is to make a market research to know the prices in other not to differ.
What are the other benefits of rearing Turkey in Nigeria?
Aside just setting up a turkey farm, there few but profitable byproducts which one can gain from rearing turkey;
Turkey Egg; when you rear turkey, you can also gain when the turkey lays eggs, sometimes they might not be in numerous quantity like the popular layer birds which main aim is to produce eggs but at least the quantity it might produce can be a gain .
Know the market prices of eggs in the market and sell your eggs when you have them.
Turkey’s Organic Manure; we all know that the feces of birds can serve as fertilizers for farm crops. Some farmers do prefer this to some chemical fertilizers. Heaps your turkey feces in sacks and sell them to farmers when they come for it.
Hatching of new turkey; Some turkey farmers do hatch the eggs of their turkey to produces new turkey. This prevents them from purchasing new turkeys and they can also sell to other farmers. You can use a hatchery to hatch the bird, if you don’t have a hatching machine, you can pay farmers who have it to hatch your birds or you can manually hatch them with the mother.
Just make sure you prevent the turkey from drinking its egg, (you can de-beak the beck). If you still not sure about the method to use, you can ask a veterinarian for better understanding.
Turkey Feathers; as simple as it might look, turkey feathers are marketable. Some companies purchase them for recycling into fibers for making clothes. While some companies need them for art products like bag, shoes, clothes, hats or other beauty accessories. Know who they companies are and sell them to them.
Steps to follow when setting up a Turkey farming Business in Nigeria
Image credit; Wikimedia Commons
Below are the effective steps to follow when you want to set up a turkey farm or rear turkey in Nigeria;
Plan your business Strategy; every good business should have a plan and so should your turkey farm business. Make a plan for the duration of time you want to rear your turkey, the amount you want to put into it, which includes the feeding, housing, and medication, your estimated gain or loss.
When you look into all these, then you will determine if you really want to enter into this business.
Knowledge of turkey farming; I previously stated that the method which we use in rearing other birds like broilers or layers can be used to rear your turkey but it is also advisable for you to be knowledgeable in turkey farming. You should seek the advice of others farming or most especially the advice of an experienced veterinarian. It aids you in knowing when to administer medication to your turkey.
Building your turkey pens/Housing and fencing; Before you purchase your turkey you should construct a permanent chicken house for them. Keep in mind that the structure another farmer have, may not be suitable for you, you may seek advice from a veterinarian or an experienced constructor.
Items like woven wire fencing, electric poultry netting, metal T-posts or wooden posts can be used.
The essential things you should bear in mind when constructing your turkey farm are;
The turkey pens should be well fenced, tall and strong because as your turkey grows, they become taller and stronger.
Most importantly, the house should be well ventilated to avoid bad odor.
You must have to make appropriate protection from all types of predators and harmful animals such as a rodent, snakes etc…
Make sure there is enough space in the house, considerably the numbers of turkey you want to put per house.
Make the house suitable enough for regular cleaning if possible; using wooden litters is very effective for your turkey farming.
The turkey’s house should have a normal temperature; not too hot or too cold.
Purchasing the turkey feeding and watering equipment for your turkey farm; though this sometimes depends on the type of house you build, some farmers do prefer to mechanize the feeding and watering systems but nevertheless, you can purchase feeder and water trough. You just need to know where and how to position them to avoid the turkey from defecating into their feeder or falling into their watering trough. (Note; And when filling the watering trough with water, do not fill it to the brim so as to avoid any incident that might cause your turkey to fall into the watering trough.)
Purchasing the right turkey breed; there are so many breeds to choose when purchasing your turkey. You should purchase male and female turkeys which will aid in reproduction. You should seek for the breed that produces quality meats, these breeds consumes less feeds and converts these feeds to meat within a short time these can help in reducing the cost and amount of feed. Just keep in mind that you will be starting with a day old turkey (poults).
Examples of turkey breeds are;
- White Holland
- Standard Bronze
- Broad-Breasted Bronze
- Bourbon Reds
- Royal Palm
- Wild bronze turkey
Turkey growth; Basically, when you purchase your turkey, you will be starting with a day old turkey, which is called Poults. It should be kept in a brooder house under suitable temperature (warm condition) for about five weeks.
Note; (for the first week, the temperature should be between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Then slowly lower the temperature as each week passes)
As they grow, the birds will be separated into different houses/pen; one for the males that are usually fast growers and the second pen/house for females, which usually grow slowly. (It all depends on, some farmers may prefer to leave or add them together)
The turkey/birds may stay there till maturity, which is 20 weeks before the farmer can sell them for money or leave them for the production of eggs.
Feeding and watering of your turkey; there different types of feed, we have the;
- Per-appetizer feeds
- Growers feeds
- Layers feeds
- Finisher feeds… and so much more
As the names imply these feeds serve a different purpose for each stage of the turkey growth. It is better you should use local feeds so that the cost of purchasing of feeds will be lower, just make sure that the content of the feeds is nutritious for the growth if your turkey ( feeds with protein nutrient is essential) . You should also measure the quantity of feeds you give your turkey for accountability. You should provide your turkey with adequate water will also contribute to the growth of your turkey. (For example; 2 gallons of fresh water is necessary for one dozen of turkeys).
When do turkeys start producing eggs?
Turkeys do mature after 20 weeks (5 months or 6 months depend on the breed). By then you should decide if you want to slaughter it frozen food or leave it for the production of eggs.
Marketing your turkey; the most important part of a business is marketing your product because nobody will know what you are selling until you let them know. After your turkey is ready, then it’s time to market them or market the eggs.
Other considerable factors when rearing turkey
We have discussed the steps one needs to take to set up a turkey farming business in Nigeria. The other things that should be of concern are;
Capital; setting up a turkey farming business does not really cost a huge amount of money. The only thing that might cost much is the amount feeds and the medication that will be administered to the birds at the early stage to prevent diseases. So do not wait till you have millions, you can startup with any capital you have, gradually, as time goes on, with adequate care and management, your turkey will multiply.
Care/management for your turkey;
Below are the additional adequate care that can be taken when rearing your turkey.
- Keep your birds in healthy, dry and ventilated environment.
- Always change and provide them (turkey) with clean and fresh water.
- Be careful and always check to avoid feeding your birds contaminated or outdated feed. You should keep food and water off the ground to decrease chances of contamination from earthworms.
- Always know when to dispose of the turkey litters/ feces to keep enough space inside the house. Also spray the litter lightly with an oil-base germicide will help to kill or prevent germs.
- Know when to administer a vaccine to your birds; like Lasota, multi-vitamins etc.
- Do not use litters high in bark content or ones that have previously been wet.
- Supply an adequately nutritious diet to the turkey that are laying eggs and use proper incubation and brooding practices or equipment when hatching.
- Keep wild birds, away from your turkey.
- Closely monitor water consumption in poults until they are drinking well. Monitor the turkey if something new or new medication has been added to the water source.
- Separate injured birds until their wounds are healed and will no longer attract the pecking of others in the pen.
- Eradicate or isolate infected birds to prevent it from affecting other birds.
- Once in a while, you should decontaminate housing and incubators with antifungal (that is, after removing the turkey from the house to prevent the antifungal from harming them. Though, there are some antifungal which are harmless to birds.)
- When buying poults, you should purchase them from trusted dealers and you should also check and be certain that they are vaccinated.
- And most importantly, you should keep a close eye on your turkeys; inspect the birds frequently to observe any changes or behavior.
Some common diseases that can be seen in turkey are;
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Fowl cholera
- Fowl pox
- New castle disease
- Turkey coryza
All these diseases are treatable, request for the right vaccine or seek the help of a veterinarian.
Starting up a turkey farming business is not really difficult. If good care is given to the birds, good income will be made from it.
How To Start A Lucrative Goat Farming Business In Nigeria (Complete Guide + eBook)
How To Start Goat Farming In Nigeria
Agriculture in its entirety doesn’t focus only on the growth and sale of farm crops. Animals are also reared, and this sector of agriculture is referred to as animal husbandry. This article is going to focus on how to start, run and grow a successful goat farming business in Nigeria, Kenya, India, and anywhere else in the world.
In almost every street except the highly regulated residential areas of Lagos, Nigeria, there’s always at least a goat roaming about. People see these animals everyday and wonder why their owners let them move about recklessly. Though their numbers may be small, these animals serve as a means of lively hood to the people rearing them.
Just as poultry farming, fish farming and a host of other agribusinesses turn in high revenues when executed at the right scale, goat farming doesn’t just also generate a substantial income for investors, but is also a large business opportunity, especially for people living in the northern part of Nigeria and India.
What Is Goat Farming About?
Goat farming is the commercial rearing of various breeds of goats (or a single goat breed) in a confined environment or an expanse of land. It involves raising goats for various purposes like; dairy production, meat, fiber, and multiple other purposes.
Business Opportunities In Goat Farming Around The World
1). Goat Meat Production:
In many countries, billions of people consume goat meat. This extremely high demand has got supermarkets and abattoirs in countries like Australia, The United Kingdom, India, America, and many others stocking goat meat for sale on their shelves.
The abundance of goats in Australia is so high that the country hasn’t just become the largest exporter of live goats and goat products worldwide, but has also created a high business opportunity for goat farmers in the country. Despite the extreme number of goats and goat products exported from Australia yearly to many other countries, the demand for goat meat remains insatiable.
In Nigeria, the level of goat meat consumption is so extreme that many workers look forward to their closing hours, so they can rush off to a bar for a goat meat pepper soup meal. This demand has made the pepper soup business flourish in the country.
People eat goat meat at home, work, restaurants, parties, and in many other places. When they’re asked for an option of meat, many choose goat meat ahead of chicken meat.
The Nigerian dwarf goat is one of the most common goat breeds raised for household consumption in Nigeria. Many homes in the south-south and south-eastern part of the country rear them both for their personal family consumption and for sale at local markets.
With Nigeria’s population sitting at over 170 million and over 5 million people consuming goat meat everyday, goat farming continues to be an extremely valuable business opportunity for new and existing farmers to venture into.
2). Dairy Production:
Dairy products like yoghurt, milk, cheese, butter, and more, can be processed from the milk gotten from dairy goats. This locally unpopular business opportunity in goat farming generates high revenue for many goat farmers around the world.
In many countries, goat milk is wildly produced for household consumption, but in Nigeria, hardly any home consumes goat milk, and so the milk’s commercial value is extremely low. Irrespective of this, goat milk is easy to digest than cow milk because of small fat globules and is naturally homogenized. It also helps in improving an individual’s appetite and digestive efficiency.
While dairy production from farm goats milk may not be a major buzz in Nigeria, in several other countries around the world, dairy goats are used immensely to fuel their dairy needs.
Benefits Of Goat Farming
- It’s easier to raise goats than to rear chickens.
- A good source of employment at the right scale.
- A great source of food.
- The startup capital can be modest.
- Required labour is low.
- Good source of manure.
- Goat farming can be practiced in most weathers.
- All goat breeds can share the same environment and feed with cattle.
- Goats can serve as a major export product.
- Great source of protein!
The Types Of Goat Breeds
1). Nigerian Dwarf Goat:
These are the most common goats in Nigeria, and are used for several purposes. Ideally, the Nigerian Dwarf Goat is best used for dairy purposes, but people in Nigeria prefer to use them to prepare meals ranging from pepper soup to other African delicacies.
Irrespective of their small sizes, the Nigerian Dwarf Goats can produce 3-4 pounds of milk per day. They are the best dairy goats and contain 6.1% butterfat. Milking them is usually very difficult, but they can be raised all-year round.
Although the Nigerian Dwarf Goats are the best goats for milk production, their maintenance and up-keep cost can skyrocket sometimes.
2). Nubian Goats:
These goats are big, graceful, and also known as anglo-nubian. They are always said to be proud of their body structure, because of their Roman nose and long pendulum-like ears.
The Nubian goats are a cross breed of Indian and African bucks, and were raised in England. Their milk contains about 4.6% butterfat and so are not considered as heavy producers.
They breed seasonally and can be raised all year round.
3). Lamancha Goats:
These goats are usually found in the United States, but are of Spanish origin, are friendly, sturdy, and healthy goats. They provide rich dairy produce because they have the best dairy temperament.
The lamancha goats are medium sized, and have small tiny ears that are either gopher ears (sweet rolls) or elf ears (hooked ears).
4). Alpine Goats:
These goats are also known as the “French Alpines” because they first originated in the Alps. They are one of the most common goats that can be found in the United States. They adapt to any environment easily, because of their medium to large sizes. Their physical attributes makes raising them trouble-free.
The Alpine goats are one of the best used for dairy farming, as their milk contains approximately 3.5% of butterfat. They usually come in different colours and patterns, but a little disadvantage of rearing these goats is that they are seasonal breeders.
5). Oberhasli Goat:
These medium-sized built goats are also known as the “swiss alpine”. They are bay in colour with a lot of black spotting all around their body. The downside of these goats is they cannot be raised all year round and their milk contains 3.6% butterfat.
6). Boer Goat:
The boer goat is a unique breed of goat with a long hanging ear, roman nose, and are majorly reared in South Africa. They have backward curved horns, a white body and coloured head. They are also strong, vigorous, and have a gentle build. The downside of this goat breed is they only breed in September and towards the end of January.
What And How Do Goats Feed?
Goats pay very close attention to the kind of food they eat. They focus on the accuracy and details of their meals. Because of their mobile upper lips and very prehensile tongues, they are easily able to browse on very short grass, and to feed on foilage not usually eaten by other domestic livestock. Goats have very good feeding habits. They can feed on a wide variety of animal food, but would refuse any feed that has been soiled by them or by any other animal.
How To Setup A Goat Farm
1). Acquire A Large Pasture:
Getting a good pasture to rear your goats is important to the overall success of your goat farm. It’s important the landmass used for your goat farming business is not just in a remote area not too far from a city, but is also large enough to accommodate your grazing needs. Here are a few points to take note of when determining the kind of pasture to use for your goat farm:
- Select a pasture not too far away from a city.
- The land mass must be large enough (maybe 50 to 100 acres, depending on the number of goats you want to rear) for your goats to graze freely.
- Make sure veterinary services can be easily accessed close to your farm.
- There must be an adequate and efficient source of both clean and fresh water close to the farm.
- There should be a market close to your farm for easy purchase of any farm tool and goat needs.
- A good road network and transportation service must be available within a short distance from your goat farm.
2). Fence The environment:
Construct a fence around the pasture to keep the goats inside. The fence should usually be a short perimeter fence coated with barbwires. This will ensure that the goats cannot just wander off without control. The fence can also ward off dangerous animals like wolves, foxes, and coyotes (one of the most common predator in the United states). You can also purchase guard dogs to ward off wild animals from preying on the goats.
If the goats are always fond of trying to break through the fence, electric fences could then be used. A shocking experience from this fence would keep almost all the goats away from it for good. Another strategy is to create “play areas” for the goats to mostly hang around. Since goats like climbing structures and more, creating a play zone will keep them preoccupied and far away from damaging farm products or structures.
3). Build Goat Barns:
You have to build an adequate barn for the goats to stay in when it’s dark or when their graze time is over. Goats also need to stay under shelter when the weather is cold, rainy or generally unfavourable. When the weather is in a perfect condition, goats prefer to be outside grazing and climbing various objects.
It’s important that the barns built are segmented for various groups of goats. Since they like their privacy, the separation in the barn must be wide enough to accommodate each number of goats put into it. In the case of owning thousands of goats, multiple separate goat barns may be required.
Place guard dogs to protect each barn containing the goats from predators, and also know that goats love to chew on something, preferably grass, while they are at rest. So it’s important you put in some for them.
4). Acquire The Right Goat Breeds:
Deciding on the right type of goat breeds to rear is highly dependent on what is available and is highly demanded in your country. While there are various types of goat breeds ranging from the Nigerian dwarf goats to nubian goats, lamancha goats, alpine goats, oberhasli goats, boer goats, and a lot more, picking the right goat breed to suit your needs is very important.
You can choose to either rear goats for dairy production, meat, fiber, and many other purposes. After making a decision, purchase healthy kids (baby goats) that are in good shape and have no signs of diseases. Make sure they undergo proper vaccination before they start grazing, to improve their chances of longevity.
5). Keep A Regular Appointment With The Veterinary Doctor:
Never skip an appointment with the veterinary doctor. Staying up to date with constant check-ups and vaccination from the doctor will increase the lifespan of your goats, thereby making their mortality rate very low.
If the required veterinary service you require for your goat farm is far away, make sure you stock enough vaccines and medications on your farm to cater for your goats.
A Short Feasibility Study On Goat Farming
Since an average goat weighs 100 pounds, and the cost of a pound is about $1.5, then an average goat could cost a minimum of $150. If your farm rears, grows, and sells 1,000 goats in a year, that would mean a minimum of $150,000 in revenue generated for the year. Separating the cost of acquiring and breeding the goats as production costs, you could be left with almost half the value of $150,000.
It’s important you know that it takes 2 to 3 years for an average goat to reach full maturity. So for your goat farming business to mature and start generating any real returns, you would have to wait a long while.
Selling 1,000 goats in a year is a big win for any small scale farmer. But with startup capital constraints, starting with a target of 500 sales by the 3rd year of full maturity is a good boost for any new farmer. At a very large scale, 10,000 or more goats could be sold in a year.
How To Sell Your Farm Goats
While there’re two articles written on how to market your farm products here, and also how to sell your farm products online here, selling your farm goats, goat milk, meat, and more, can be slightly different. It’s important to identify hotspots where they use goat meats a lot; like pepper soup joints, abattoirs, and more, to market your goats to them.
Claiming some of these prospects as customers, may cost you a little more, like lowering your prices and offering them better incentives and bonuses than other goat farmers would offer. When you make your customers feel great about partnering with you, they’ll never stop making you money.
While there are many other animal husbandry farming sectors like grasscutter farming, cattle rearing, and more, goat farming is highly lucrative, because of its high demand and attractive export value. As a goat farmer selling hundreds or even thousands of goats yearly, you could overtime build an agribusiness conglomerate starting with just these animals.
Red Palm Oil – How to make money from this lucrative but overlooked business
The business opportunities in red palm oil production in Africa are quite impressive.
Palm oil makes up nearly 50 percent of edible oils consumed worldwide. Apart from being a popular ingredient in African food (especially soups, stews and pottage), palm oil has one of the most versatile uses of any plant product.
The global palm oil market is worth hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
Although West Africa lies in the center of the world’s oil palm belt, it produces less than 5 percent of the palm oil consumed worldwide. Malaysia and Indonesia have become the dominant powers in palm oil production and presently supply more than 70 percent of the palm oil consumed worldwide.
Currently, no African country, except Cote D’Ivoire, produces enough palm oil to meet the demand of its local market.
Let’s explore the many lucrative business opportunities available for entrepreneurs in red palm oil production
Africa has lost its glory days of red palm oil dominance
In the 1950s and 1960s, West Africa was the heartbeat of global palm oil production and the number one export commodity of many countries in the region. In its heyday, West Africa produced up to 75 percent of all the palm oil consumed worldwide.
Nowadays, the region imports nearly 60 percent of its palm oil from faraway Malaysia and Indonesia to complement local production.
Palm oil balance in Africa 2010 (in metric tonnes)
Cote D’Ivoire is the only African country that can meet its local demand for palm oil. Other countries have to import to supplement local production.
Who uses palm oil? Why the huge demand?
Palm oil is a hugely versatile vegetable oil used in a variety of ways in different cultures, industries and markets. In food, palm oil is used as a substitute for fat in making condensed milk, coffee cream, ice cream and margarine.
Because of its consistency and ability to resist high temperatures, it is commonly used as cooking oil and is considered one of the best oils for frying. All these amazing qualities make palm oil a highly sought after commodity in homes, restaurants and food processing industries.
As a non-food product, palm oil makes an important raw material in the production of soaps, detergents, greases, lubricants and candles.
With the growing profile of the biofuels market, palm oil has also proven to be a valuable feedstock for biodiesel and serves as an alternative to mineral oils used in power stations.
Apart from local trade in palm oil, it is heavily sold on the international markets as CPO (Crude Palm Oil) and usually commands a high premium price given its vast capabilities and high demand from several industries.
The graph below shows the prices of CPO over the last three years between 2010 and 2013.
Business Opportunities in the red palm oil production in Africa
There are a lot of juicy opportunities for entrepreneurs to make money in the growing and successful global palm oil business. We shall explore the different opportunities in this market and their enormous potentials for investors and businesspeople.
Opportunity #1 – Grow an oil palm plantation
Most parts of Africa, especially West Africa, lie in the world’s oil palm belt – a region which produces the best results for oil palm plantations.
However, Africa produces much less palm oil than it is truly capable of because not enough palm trees are cultivated on a commercial scale.
The features which make Africa most suitable for cultivating oil palm plantations include:
- An all-year-round hot weather – The oil palm grows well where it is hot all the year round: between 25 and 28 degrees Centigrade. Hot temperatures allow the oil palm to grow many leaves and, as a result, produce more fruit. Higher temperatures also mean that the palm trees are less prone to disease attack.
- A lot of sunshine – Oil palms need a lot of sunshine to grow well. All year round sunshine helps the palms to produce large and well-ripened fruits which contain a lot of oil.
- Abundant rain – Oil palms are not likely to do very well in areas with water shortages. Plentiful rain is very good for the trees and allows them to grow a lot of leaves which lead to more clusters of fruit.
- Rich, deep, flat and permeable soil – The oil palm needs access to water and mineral salts deep in the soil to do well. If it does not have full and easy access to these essential nourishments, the yields (harvest) may be very poor. The soil must also be able to allow water to soak through (permeable) to ensure that the soil is always well drained. However, in the absence of adequate minerals in the soil, fertilizers can be used to supplement the existing supply.
Despite these huge advantages, more than 80 percent of the palm oil consumed in Africa today come from palm fruits picked from oil palms in rural households, or from oil palm trees that grow in the forest.
A more deliberate effort can be put into cultivating modern oil palm plantations that contain selected (hybrid) oil palms with very high yields.
The fruits of the oil palm (known as ‘palm fruits’) contain a pulp (which is yellow in colour) that is crushed to produce the palm oil. The seed of the fruit contains a white inner kernel which is also crushed to obtain palm kernel oil. Palm kernel oil has hundreds of uses in the home and industries.
If you’re considering an oil palm plantation, growing the right variety of palm fruit will be most essential to the success of this business.
A significant majority of the palm fruits in Africa are of the Dura variety which is characterized by a thick shell and a small pulp.
On modern oil palm plantations, this variety is crossbred with the Pisifera variety to produce a hybrid (Tenera). The Tenera variety is every plantation owner’s favourite because it has a lot of pulp, a thin shell and a big kernel.
Selected varieties like the Tenera ensure a much larger yield for every hectare cultivated!
The three common varieties of the palm fruit and their distinctive qualities (photo credit: The Food and Agriculture Organisation).
Important things to consider before starting an oil palm plantation
- The site for your plantation must be chosen carefully. A flat landscape that is not prone to erosion is most preferable. If the land is not flat, it can seriously affect transport around the plantation and cost you a lot.
- Starting an oil palm plantation will require significant upfront investment. After planting, it usually takes about 3 to 5 years before the trees start to produce any fruit that can be harvested. During this period, money will be spent on fertilisers, improved seedlings and labour for workmen who will be needed to keep the site free of weeds. You should ensure you have sufficient working capital to cater to these expenses before you start.
- Oil palms can be a source of long term income. Once the ground work is well done, and the palm seedlings are properly cared for in their early years, oil palms can live for up to 80 years! Do not try to cultivate too large an area, or the work will be badly done. It is better to cultivate a small plantation and to do the work well, and then gradually increase the size of the plantation. A small plantation that is well looked after can yield more than a large plantation that is badly looked after.
Opportunity #2 – Start a palm oil milling and processing plant
Traditional processing is one of the leading reasons for low palm oil production in Africa.
Due to the crude methods of squeezing out palm oil from the pulp of the palm fruit, a lot of oil still remains in the pulp and is lost through this ineffective and wasteful process.
Modern mills process harvested palm fruits into final grade palm oil with little or no waste and minimal use of human power.
Using machines, the process typically involves sterilizing and threshing the bunches to free the palm fruit, mashing the fruit and pressing out the crude palm oil.
The crude oil is further treated to purify and dry it for storage and sale in both local and international markets.
An investment in a milling plant can be a great source of income if it is located close enough to oil palm sources. The two major ways to make money from this venture are:
Charge a service fee to mill/process harvested palm fruits for customers. You could charge a flat fee on a per kilogram or per hour basis. The value you offer to customers is a quick, easy and labour-free way to get their palm fruits milled and processed to palm oil.
Another popular method of making money from palm oil mills is to buy off harvested palm fruits directly from small-scale farmers, produce the palm oil and then sell directly to both local and international markets.
This strategy has a greater potential for huge profits because of the mill’s capacity to buy palm fruits at low prices and sell the processed palm oil at a much higher price.
To succeed with this strategy, there are a couple of things you will need to watch out for:
Operating a mill is likely to require a lot of electric power. With high fuel prices and poor electricity supply in many parts of Africa, this is likely to be the single most influential and challenging factor in determining the profitability of this venture.
Another important factor is the quality of palm fruits you buy from farmers. You should ensure that they are of the high yield variety (preferably Tenera). A failure in this area may lead to low palm oil production volumes and poor profits.
Other factors to consider before starting an oil mill are skilled labour to operate and maintain the machinery, quality control in processing the palm oil and easy access to markets.
Palm oil processing machinery can be sourced locally or imported. Alibaba.com is a good place to start your search.
Opportunity #3 – Become a bulk trader
Bulk traders buy processed palm oil in large quantities and stock them for export or sale in the local market.
During harvest, usually between March and May of every year, the prices of palm oil reach very low levels due to the abundance of the product on the market. However, during the off-peak (non-harvest) periods, when palm oil becomes scarce, the prices expectedly go through the roof.
This scarcity usually sets in between September and December and can see palm oil prices rise by as much as 100 percent.
This cycle of scarcity and abundance continues because of inadequate storage facilities to ensure an all-year round supply of red palm oil to the market.
A bulk trader sets up a stocking program that allows him/her to buy from the market at very cheap prices during times of abundance and sell back to the market when scarcity sets in. This strategy obviously requires storage space and may incur significant holding, handling and transportation costs.
Most bulk traders buy palm oil from local producers in the hinterland and countryside during the harvest periods and store them away in huge containers and barrels until the scarcity periods when they can sell them in towns and cities (or export) for a very tidy profit.
Palm oil’s ability to retain its natural consistency, even at high temperatures, allows it to withstand long storage periods (usually up to one year). This period allows the bulk trader enough time to gradually sell off the product and make good profits in the process.
Red palm oil production in Africa remains a juicy business opportunity
As Africa’s population explodes and economic growth accelerates, the demand for palm oil is expected to rise.
This demand will largely be driven by human consumption and the diverse applications of palm oil in the manufacture of several household and industrial products. This growth will provide rewarding opportunities for oil palm plantation growers, oil mills and processors and the bulk traders.