Bauchi Sees Wealth in Poultry Farming

BAUCHI, NIGERIA - Bauchi is an agricultural state that is well known for the production of such farm goods as maize, rice, guinea corn, groundnut, cotton and maize among others.
calendar icon 1 April 2011
clock icon 7 minute read

With its moderate climate, the state has mass landscape and resources as well as fertile soil. It is a hub for poultry farming which constitutes a significant per cent, making it among the top producers of food in Nigeria.

In the past few years, the state has been encouraging farmers to invest in poultry agriculture, Daily Trust reports.

One area where the competition to set up a poultry farm is stiff is Toro Local Government Area of the state, specifically in areas of Tilden Fulani, a historic roadside town with a few kilometres drive from Jos, the Plateau State capital.

The emerging concentration of poultry farms is due to the availability of land and the itch by farmers to invest in the business. Coupled with the recurrent crises in neighbouring Plateau, many residents who have passion for such farming have crossed over to make use of the available land where they set up large mechanized poultry farming facilities.

A visit to some of the farms in the area showed that the farms have quite in stock as far as poultry business is concerned.

Khairiyya Farms is a riverside poultry farm at Jimpi, (a small settlement few kilometres from Tilden Fulani) and is among the numerous poultry farms that have been producing varieties of poultry produce ranging from fish, eggs, chicken, quails, ostrich, pea cock among others.

According to the Executive Director of the farm, Hajiya Binta Kabiru Bala, the farm was established in 2006 where the land procured was bought as a place for relaxation.

“But as time goes on we discovered the fertility of the area as well as the importance of farming as an occupation. We then decided to plant some perishable crops to test run the fertility of the land; we planted things like tomatoes, cabbage and carrot”.

But that litmus test only opened more doors of opportunities for Khairiyya Farms as the land was discovered to be fertile enough for the cultivation of even coffee seed.

“We even planted coffee seeds and it grew very well on the land, but we had stopped its cultivation at some point because there was no available market for it within our reach. We are also currently trying a wheat plantation which is scientifically tested to see how well it will grow and so far it has yielded positive result because the wheat is growing very well and with this development we intend to start farming the crop in a commercial quantity."

But the farm did not stop at that as it then ventured into full poultry farming where over 8,000 birds, and 48,000 fish are reared currently.

“Our target by the end of this year is to reach 20,000 birds by December and 150,000 for fish,” Hajiya Binta said.

According to the farm Manager, Ahmed Isa Lamorde, the farm has different fish ponds ranging from earth, breeding, rearing to concrete ponds to actualize that vision.

He added that for the birds and especially the chicken, the farm has made enough provision where poultry houses were provided with battery cages and deep litre system to allow them grow in favourable conditions.

The farm did not stop at that as it has made further strides to make judicious use of its vast land where wheat is also cultivated at a test run level as plans are on the way to plant maize for the forthcoming rainy season. “We are also planning to use the maize we intend to cultivate in our mill industry for the animal feeds we are producing locally within the farm.

Talking about production of feeds locally, the farm also has milling section where fish feeds as well as cow feeds are produced for the animals.

According to the Khariyya Farm Manager, Ahmed Isa Lamorde, the farm has a local milling industry where food is processed for the animals on the farm, stressing that the milling section helps in processing food that augment feeds provided from outside.

The fish ponds available in the farm range from concrete ponds, breeding ponds, earth ponds to rearing ponds where thousands of fish are reared and fed every day.

This trend has inevitably come along with its rewards where employment opportunities and an easier access to local manure were presented at a platter of gold.

Not only that, secondary schools spread around such farms have a readymade avenue for conducting practicals for their agric students where the farm owners were more than willing to assist among other things.

Aware of its social responsibility, Khariyya Farm in particular has a total number of 22 staff who run the farm on a daily basis and a significant percent of them were employed from the host community of Jimpi and they hold various positions in the farm.

The farm further serves as an easier means for peasant farmers in the area to have access to local manure which they use on their farms to ensure good harvest.

But while this scenario exists, the price the farm owners are paying for being there for the economy of the state aside from the social responsibility they provide to their immediate host communities, are numerous. These problems range from bad roads and lack of other social amenities in the area.

For one, the farm owners generally complain about lack of access road to the area which will allow smooth transportation of produce from the farms.

According to Hajiya Binta, “There is need for the state government to intervene by helping to construct an accessible road that will facilitate easier movement of farm produce; this will go a long way in solving many problems faced by not only poultry farmers but the immediate host communities who have to trek several kilometres of bad road before they could reach the main road.”

Furthermore, one of the roads that leads to the general area of the farms is linked by a bridge which many at times overflows during the rainy season and deny access to the place.

According to her, “Sometimes we wait up to two to three hours to allow the water to pass before we proceed to our various farms, that part delays work in the farms especially when it rains over night or early in the morning."

More so the issue of electricity according to the executive director, also poses as a great challenge to them stressing that the electricity line needs to be extended up to neighboring settlements like Tumul to improve the operation of farms generally in the area as well as other extracting industries that operate in the area.

According to Hajiya Binta, the state government doesn’t seem to have an idea that there is concentration of these farms in the area which led to the lackadaisical attitude towards the area.

Asked whether they have made an attempt to contact the authorities, Hajiya Binta said they were planning to draw the attention of the government to show them the fertility of the area.

She added, “The weather is almost similar to that of Jos because of the proximity, therefore almost anything you want to grow here will thrive as you can see we plant such things as wheat, coffee, apple which are not very common in this part of the country, this shows that the general area has a lot to offer to prospective farmers."

Another glaring challenge faced by the farmers is the recurrent crises in neighboring Jos in Plateau state. Incidentally, proximity has inevitably made Jos the available market for goods produced from the farms in Toro which adversely affects them indirectly.

The executive director however said they are exploring more alternative markets from other neighbouring states and even beyond.

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