Nigeria Finds Sorghum a Good Alternative to Maize in Poultry Feed

NIGERIA - The performance of broiler chicken fed on 100 per cent sorghum as a substitute to maize was highlighted during a field day in Nigeria where farmers, millers, researchers, public servants and decision makers participated.
calendar icon 5 January 2015
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These claims were the results of feed trials on the use of sorghum in feed formulation for broiler birds, proving the suitability of sorghum in poultry feed. The trials were conducted by the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano, through the sorghum value chain of Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), in collaboration with ICRISAT.

As an ingredient for bird feed, sorghum compares quite favorably with maize in terms of the nutritional quality, with the added advantage of being tolerant to extreme weather and can be grown in Nigeria as opposed to imported maize.

Various stakeholders expressed optimism that this is a welcome development in Nigeria whereby poultry producers can meet their requirement for feed formulation at affordable prices.

According to Mr Telta, desk officer sorghum value chain Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Nigeria, "FMARD aims to promote sorghum production, utilisation and consumption in the country."

In her remarks Dr Sapna Jarial, Scientist, Crop Livestock, ICRISAT said, "The use of sorghum in a crop and livestock combination is an important way of increasing sorghum utilisation and consumption in Nigeria. The next challenge for ICRISAT is to conduct the same trial on layer (egg producing) birds."

Professor Bawa of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, clarified the participants’ queries. In his remarks, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT-Nigeria Country Representative, highlighted marketing as the most challenging issue in developing the sorghum value chain and that one of the efforts is to link sorghum farmers to an organised market through such efforts as including sorghum in poultry feed.

Another activity at the event was the demonstration of post-harvest machines led by Dr Ajeigbe who explained the working principles of the machines that included threshers, hammer-mills, grinders and stalk choppers.

He urged Nigerian youth to form groups and purchase the machines to be used as a source of income to improve their living standard and reduce unemployment in the country.

The field day was held on 11 December 2014 at Imawa village, Kura local government area in Kano state, Nigeria, and attracted 78 participants. This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Programme Dryland Systems.

Charlotte Rowney

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