Nigeria’s poultry industry holds tremendous potential to improve domestic nutrition and food security. However, high imports of poultry products and stock feed undermine growth. By optimising the use of local raw materials, Nigeria can boost cost-efficient domestic production of poultry feeds and inputs, spurring the growth of poultry farming and processing.
Overview of the Poultry and Feed Industry in Nigeria
Poultry farming in Nigeria involves rearing chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other birds for meat and eggs. Key facts:
- Poultry represents an important agriculture sub-sector in Nigeria.
- Nigeria is self-sufficient in poultry meat production, at 200,000–300,000 MT annually. But domestic demand exceeds 1 million MT, so imports fill the gap.
- Annual egg production is estimated at 650,000–750,000 MT, against demand of over 1 million MT.
- There are over 200,000 poultry farms in Nigeria, mostly small farms with 2,000–5,000 birds. But large farms are increasing.
- Poultry feed is the major input, constituting up to 70–80% of production costs. Nigeria lacks sufficient domestic feed production.
- Nigeria imports around 60–70% of its poultry feed raw materials, especially maize, soybeans, fishmeal, and additives. This increases costs.
- The animal feed industry in Nigeria is estimated at $3 billion, of which poultry feed accounts for over $2 billion.
Challenges Facing Poultry Feed Production in Nigeria
High imports arise due to structural challenges facing domestic feed production:
Inadequate raw materials
- Local output of maize and soybean cannot meet the high and rising demand from feed mills and food processing.
- Other inputs, like fishmeal, also rely on imports due to low local production.
Low Productivity of Local Crops
- Maize and soybean have low yields in Nigeria compared to global averages, owing to poor seeds, inputs, extension services, and land management practices.
- This increases the landed cost of imported raw materials relative to potential domestic sources.
Seasonality of Crop Production
- Maize and soybeans have single seasonal harvests, leading to gluts and scarcity at different times of the year. It is difficult to ensure year-round feed availability.
- Limited cold storage, warehousing, and transportation infrastructure makes it difficult to preserve crops and move them to feed mills.
Weak R&D on Alternative Feed Ingredients
- There is insufficient research on utilising agro-waste, crop residues, and non-traditional feed resources that can substitute imports.
- Urbanisation and competing uses limit the land available to expand the cultivation of feed crops.
Limited Access to Credit
- High-interest rates and collateral requirements hinder farmers and feed millers from accessing credit to boost productivity.
Strategies to Harness Nigeria’s Local Feed Resources
Significant opportunities exist for import substitution by optimising the use of Nigeria’s diverse agro-ecological resources for feed production.
- Expand Cultivation of Maize and Soybeans
- Provide high-yield, early-maturing, disease-resistant seed varieties of maize and soybeans to farmers. Expand research on biofortified seeds adapted to Nigeria’s conditions.
- Train farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to increase crop productivity through optimal inputs and land management practices.
- Facilitate access to credit, crop insurance, and mechanisation like precision planters and harvesters to reduce production costs.
- Develop commodity exchanges and warehousing systems to store crops after harvest and sell them when market prices are favourable.
- Adopt climate-smart production methods.
- Promote climate-resilient production through stress-tolerant seeds, efficient water use via drip irrigation, reduced tillage, etc.
- Intercrop maize and soybeans with grain legumes like cowpea to enhance soil fertility, boost yields, and diversify income sources.
- Develop early warning systems to help farmers plan for and mitigate climate risks.
- Increase the productivity of alternative feed resources.
- Expand the cultivation of grain crops like sorghum and millet, which thrive in drier agroclimates. These can partially substitute maize in feeds.
- Optimise the use of agricultural by-products like cassava peels, brewers’ spent grains, rice bran, etc. as economical feed ingredients.
- Enhance the output and utilisation of oilseed crops like sesame, sunflower, moringa, etc. to produce high-protein oilseed cakes for feed.
- Promote micro livestock like grasscutters, snails, and insects, which can be reared at the village level to provide protein inputs for feed.
- Strengthen R&D on novel feeds
- Conduct research on underutilised crops and food by-products to develop least-cost feed formulations adapted for local poultry breeds.
- Develop and commercialise enzymes and processing methods to improve the nutritional value of unconventional feed resources.
- Explore options like black soldier fly larvae rearing on waste streams to provide protein for feed.
- Promote partnerships between research institutes, the private sector, and farmers to develop and disseminate applied feed technologies.
- Develop Integrated Food-Feed Production Systems
- Optimise synergies between crop farming for human food and animal feed production through by-product utilisation, crop rotations, etc. to maximise output.
- Establish decentralised integrated feed mills co-located with grain mills and processing plants to utilise residues like bran, starch waste, broken grains, etc.
- Develop urban and peri-urban feed units to make use of organic wastes and grain spillages as feedstock. This saves on transport costs.
- Upgrade storage and transport infrastructure.
- Construct modern grain and oilseed storage silos and warehouses to preserve crops until needed by feed mills.
- Develop cold chain infrastructure like refrigerated trucks, cold stores, etc. to reduce spoilage and enable a year-round feed supply.
- Improve rural road connectivity and the inland water transport network for efficient crop logistics and trade.
- Strengthen distribution channels.
- Encourage the establishment of livestock input dealers in rural areas to supply feeds, vaccines, tools, etc. to poultry farms located beyond urban centres.
- Leverage e-commerce and m-commerce platforms for feed order delivery to reduce overhead costs for feed companies and offer convenience to farmers.
- Enhance credit access
- Provide concessional agriculture loans via programmes like CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and the BOI Fund targeted at the feed and poultry value chains.
- Develop innovative models like inventory credit using stored crops as collateral to alleviate capital constraints faced by feed millers and farmers.
- Promote contract farming arrangements between feed mills, trading firms, and farmer cooperatives to support input financing and guaranteed buybacks.
- Upgrade industry skill levels.
- Expand vocational training programmes to develop a skilled workforce for feed production and mechanised farming.
- Offer courses on feed technology applications and entrepreneurship to increase local innovation in feed production and distribution.
- Reform market regulations and standards
- Institute grades and standards for major feed crops to enable price discovery and trading on commodity exchanges.
- Enact regulations to ensure the quality, safety, and nutritional levels of manufactured feeds.
- Simplify business licencing and approvals for feed mills and input dealers.
By fully harnessing Nigeria’s diverse climate, crops, and production systems, domestic poultry feed output can be significantly increased to substitute imports. This will make poultry farming more competitive and profitable, promoting domestic nutrition and food security. A combination of R&D, infrastructure upgrades, farmer training, innovative finance, and enabling policies are required to build an efficient, localised poultry feed value chain and catalyse broad-based agricultural development.