- Egg production and its role in the development of children in Africa - March 3, 2020
- How can Nigeria agribusiness fulfill its potential in its livestock industry? - February 27, 2020
Agribusiness, broken down, agric (agriculture) and business merged to give agribusiness can simply be defined as the act of engaging in the production, processing, marketing and distribution processes relating to agriculture with the aim of delivering value across the value chain of the sector while making profit.
The term was coined in 1957 by Ray A. Goldberg and John H. Davis. It involves all process involved in the production (planting and harvesting of crops or rearing of livestock), processing (transformation of raw agriculture produce to final products), packaging (making the processed produce appealing to final consumers or retailers) and distribution.
The agribusiness sector in Nigeria is a booming one. In an online publication by thenationonlineng.net in 2017, Nigeria consumes about seven million metric tons of rice. Governor Ambode, the ex-governor of Lagos state said ‘Lagos’ consumed 2 million cows yearly. And that is just Lagos state alone, what about other South-West states, North-West, South-South, South-East, North-Central and the country as a whole?
Agribusiness although filled with lots of thriving industries, this post will only focus on its livestock industry:
“How can Nigeria agribusiness fulfill its potential in its livestock industry”. Let me rephrase that into a question: “how can we (you and I) make Nigeria agribusiness fulfill its potential in its livestock industry? The reason for this post is not only to enlighten you but to plant an idea in you to get involved in the livestock industry.
What is the livestock industry?
The livestock industry is the industry within agribusiness that deals with all processes involving the production, processing, packaging and distribution of livestock on a small or large scale.
I was having a discussion the other day with some of my friends and during the course of the discussion; I asked them if they can, in the future, consider agriculture as a business and source of income. Only few showed willingness.
I pressed further and asked how about production and processing of livestock business as a source of income. There were no positive replies this time. What they thought I had in my mind was the ‘Fulani herdsmen type of livestock tending’ or small scale livestock farming. I then pointed to the footwear one of them had worn and asked him if he knew the material used in producing it. He answered ‘leather’. I asked again if they knew where the leather is gotten from; then the silence came again.
Many of Nigerian youths, including ‘old me’ is oblivious of how broad the livestock industry is. Ask them what the livestock industry entails and the first thing that pops up is cow and Fulani herdsmen. They have no idea that livestock industry not only entails the production and processing of livestock for meat. Livestock industry also entails the production and processing of livestock for leather, wool, milk, medicine, house decorations etc. Your input in the livestock industry might not be in the production stage, it might be in the processing stage. You can set up an industry which mainly deals in the processing and packaging of cow milk. You can be like ‘Bao Hongxing’, the chairman of Twins group, one of the largest companies in China’s Jiangxhi province. He is worth over 1.3 billion dollars and what does his company do? They research, produces and sell pigs feed and also deals with pig farming.
Nigeria has a lot of thriving farmers in other industries of the agribusiness sector. We have the likes of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his Ota farm, we have Aliko dangote who made some of his fortune from sugar and flour production and now has plans in place to produce and process rice. And we have Rotimi Williams who owns the second largest rice farm in Nigeria, just to mention a few. But little can be said for the livestock industry. Apart from the Fulani who tends to their cows all year long, the only time some self acclaimed livestock farmers remember to produce livestock is during festive periods when demand calls for. The livestock industry is more than this!
For the agribusiness sector of the Nigeria economy to develop, the livestock industry is key. Because apart from meat; the skin, beaks, feather, hones, milk etc serve as raw materials to produce some of the materials Nigeria currently imports. Imagine us producing those things ourselves, how cheap the products will become and this will help to improve our economy? Even better, imagine you being the one that filled the empty vacuum. Not only are you adding your own quota to the development of Nigeria’s economy, you are making money while at it.
I divided livestock farming into three in this post:
1) Production: This involves rearing of livestock for meat, reproduction, eggs milk, etc. It’s the primary level of the agribusiness value chain.
2) Processing and packaging: This involves processing the livestock into its final product or other raw materials.
3) Distribution: This involves transporting the final product or raw materials to final consumers or other companies for further processing.
You might decide to combine the three in your case. For example, ‘Dave Incorporation’ might decide to raise the cows, skin it, make shoes and also transport it to final users or retailers.
The combination of the three can also be relative… how? For a livestock farmer whose only job is to produce skin hides, processing and packaging to him is just skinning of the cows and packaging the skin hides to be transported to the company that will turn the skin hides into finished product (shoes etc).
Looking at it, the livestock farmer also passed through the three processes and to him, his final consumers are the companies that buy the skin hides from him.
While for a company that produces feed for livestock’s, livestock farmers are their final users.
Earlier, I talked about how the livestock industry will help in reducing if not eliminate the importation of raw materials or goods that can be produced locally. But I forgot to mention the massive employment the livestock industry can and will create. Let’s take a look at some of the jobs the livestock industry creates.
1) Herdsman, poultry worker etc.
2) Stock keeper.
4) Barn cleaner.
5) Farm supervisor.
6) Food procurement department.
i) Market researcher.
ii) Cost analyst.
iii) Food and nutrition expert.
7) Urban and regional planner (to give a layout of the farm, workers office, warehouse, storage and barns.
8) Lawyer etc.
Processing and Packaging:
1) Factory workers.
2) Factory supervisors.
3) Mechanical engineers to service and repair machines.
4) Safety officers.
7) Advertising team.
8) Marketing agents.
9) Machine and parts procurement department.
i) Mechanical engineer.
ii) Cost analyst.
10) Raw material procurement agents etc.
3) Sales force.
5) Record Keeper (to keep records of all cars or means of transportation information like date of purchase, last repair, driver in charge etc and also to keep record of all goods collected and safely delivered)
And those are just few of the jobs the livestock industry creates. There are more. But with all these good things the livestock industry can add to the agribusiness sector which improves the economy of Nigeria, isn’t it sad that only few farmers and people are involved in the livestock industry.
Although, there are a lot of things that hinder the livestock industry, number one o the list is the mindset of people which this posts hopes to change, number two is the lack of startup funds and number three is the behaviour of Nigerians towards Nigeria made produce or products.
But the livestock industry has several advantages over other industries e.g. the barrier to entry is low; the risk involved is highly controllable, very little competition etc.
Agribusiness in Nigeria can fully fulfill its potential by having a robust livestock industry even as the transition of the world from petroleum to other source of renewable energy is nonnegotiable, so is the livestock industry being a vital part of agribusiness in Nigeria nonnegotiable.
Other industries in agribusiness are already too over saturated. The minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh in an online publication about 2 years ago said ‘Nigerians consume about 80,000 to 90,000 cows daily and we are not calving as much’. What this means is, a time will come when we might experience shortage of cows. And that was just cows. What about poultry birds, goats, pigs etc.
The fact remains the livestock industry is unsaturated and profitable, You could get involved today, add your own quota to the development of agribusiness in Nigeria while making money in the process.
My advice to young Nigerians is this, start small and Pick an area in the industry and key in. It might be rearing of cows for sale, or making of shoes or jackets from skin hides. Start small, let ‘quality over quantity’ be your watchword.
Nigerians skeptic view of Nigeria made produce or products started with the fake or substandard products flooding the market. Be different. Innovate and come up with new methods the area of the livestock industry you picked can be better and lastly, enlarge which can be done by taking soft loans from banks, finding investors or partnership with rich individuals.
Ziad K. Abdelnour once said ‘an idea is like a virus, resilient and highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can define or destroy you’. I hope I have planted an idea in you today, let that idea grow in you (produce), think about it (process), make final decisions (package) and then take action (distribute). As you can see, even the stages or area of livestock industry works well here too. (**wink**)
“We offer training periodically for those intending to start a Livestock business (Goat farming, pig farming and cattle rearing) see details here.”