Last week, the Executive Governor of Cross River State Senator Prof. Benedict Ayade traveled to Ireland to meet with members of the Irish Business Class who are willing to come and invest in Cross River State. Amongst the areas of proposed investment are dairy farm and feed mill.
A few weeks ago I had already done a treatise on expanding the dairy farm in Obudu Cattle Ranch. The purpose of this week’s treatise will be to expose an exciting opportunity which exists in the commercial production of Maize and development of a feed mill in Cross River State.
The project is expected to create jobs for thousands of youths, help to meet the demand for animal feed in Nigeria and promote economic development in the state. Hope you find it enlightening.
Maize, also known as corn, is one of the most extensively cultivated cereal crops on Earth. More maize is produced, by weight, than any other grain, and almost every country on Earth cultivates maize commercially for a variety of uses. Maize is used extensively as a nutritional source for livestock as well as humans.
Nigeria has an annual maize production in excess of 7 million metric tons. In terms of volume produced, maize is the third most important cereal grown in Nigeria after sorghum and millet.
The demand for maize in Nigeria however far outweighs the production and stands at about 20 million tons annually. Cross River State is one of the leading producers of maize in Nigeria. However, the level of maize production in the state is poor.
The poor level of production of maize can be attributed to the fact that the bulk of the farm, over 90% is dependent on subsistence agriculture (small holder farmers) with rudimentary farm system, low capitalization and low yield per hectare. Moreover, price fluctuation, diseases and pest, poor storage facilities and efficiency of resource utilization are some other identified problems.
Commercial maize production is still at its infancy in Nigeria. Currently, there is no commercial production of Maize in the state. With the use of Hybrid Maize and mechanized system of farming, yield of maize can reach up to 10.2 tonnes per hectare. Commercial maize production will improve production of maize substantially in the state to meet the demand by the proposed feed mill.
The feed mill plant is proposed for the production of animal feed to meet the growing demand for the product in Nigeria. There is a growing demand for livestock feed in Nigeria. Animal feeds requirement in Nigeria (both low and high) nutritional planes are not less than 4 million metric tons on annual basis. The supply presently is less than fifty percent.
Information from the federal office of statistics reveals that over N2,653, 643 was spent in importation of livestock feeds in 1986; N3, 542,762 in 1987, N4, 542, 762 in 1988 and over N15 million in 1996. With the imposition of restrictions on import of animal feed in Nigeria, there is need to improve local production and Cross River State is well positioned to contribute to meeting this demand.
There are three types of feeds, namely chick mash, growers mash and layers mash. In all cases, the major raw materials are Palm Kernel Cakes (PKC), Soya beans, Maize, Fish and Oyster shell, Wheat grains, calcium carbonates and clean water. All these materials are locally available in the Cross River State in commercial quantities except maize.
The plan is to cultivate 10,000 hectares of maize which will produce about 100,000 metric tons of maize annually and set up a feed mill which will use the maize as its raw material. The feed mill is expected to have a production capacity of 1,000 metric tons per day and annual production of 300,000 metric tons. With a prevailing market price per ton of N50,000 for feed, the project is expected to rake in an annual income of N15 billion.
The project is also expected to create about over 1,000 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs. It is estimated to cost about N20 billion, have about 25 percent Return On Investment (ROI) and a payback period of three years.
The primary vision is to provide the best quality animal feeds to the market at competitive prices. With this, the state is set to become the leading producer of animal feed in Nigeria, poised to meet clients’ needs and provide excellent service delivery.
Although the production of conventional livestock has risen steadily over recent years, a major constraint to its expansion is inadequate feeds supply. The poor quality of the feeds currently available to the industry generates high mortalities, stimulates low productivity and as a consequence, produces low return on investment. An efficient feed mill industry is therefore crucial to the sustainability of viable livestock and poultry production enterprises.
The decision of the Cross River State Government under the leadership of Senator Prof. Benedict Ayade to invest in this project could not have come at a better time than now and the state has great advantage as the preferred investment destination by virtue of the availability of other needed raw materials like palm kernel cake from the state’s abundant oil palm production, Oyster shells from the sea around us and calcium carbonates from large deposits of limestone.
With investment in livestock feed production through public private partnership, the state is set to change the narrative in this sector of the state’s economy, impacting on the value chain, creating jobs for its citizens and contributing to the growth of the economy.
This is a good omen for the state and is surely the beginning of the best of times.
Emmanuel Etim is a development consultant based in Nigeria. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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