Ten ingredients that go into animal feed compounds which Nigeria needs to step up production of as part of a radical livestock husbandry program.
- Maize – We currently produce about 11m tonnes. We need to up this to about 20m tonnes to have enough maize to feed livestock commercially.
- Palm kernels – We are currently producing about 1.3m tonnes a year but need to increase this to at least 5m tonnes as we consume about 2m tonnes already.
- Soybeans – We are currently producing about 758,000 tonnes a year but need to increase this to at least South Africa’s 1.5m tonnes.
- Cassava – We are the world’s largest producer with a crop of about 60m tonnes but as cassava is such an important staple food used for Garri, Fufu, Lafun, etc, we will need to almost double production to about 100m tonnes to supply a thriving livestock industry.
- Millet – We are currently producing about 2m tonnes a year but need to increase this to match the 4m tonnes of our northern neighbours Niger Republic. We are the world’s fifth-largest producer behind India, Niger, China and Mali. If you ask me, we should aim to be number one.
- Sorghum – We are currently the world’s second-largest producer with an annual crop of 7m tonnes. To supply the feed industry we will need to overtake the US that has an annual crop of 9m tonnes, so I would aim for 10m tonnes.
- Coconuts – Nigeria currently has an embarrassingly small crop of about 290,000 tonnes, making her only the world’s 19th largest producer. Animal feed or not, we should at least match Tanzania’s 550,000 tonnes. Thailand has the same climate as Nigeria and produces about 900,000 tonnes. I believe Governor Babajide Sanwoolu is planning a major coconut expansion programme in Badagry. I think he should aim for a crop of 600,000 tonnes for now.
- Groundnuts – We are currently the world’s third-largest producer with an annual crop of about 3m tonnes. Let us try and catch India which produces about 7m tonnes a year.
- Yam – Again, we dominate global yam output, accounting for about 70% of world production. Given that yam is such an important staple meal for us, to effectively supply the animal feed trade we will need to increase production to about 80m from our current 50m tonnes a year.
- Sugarcane- This is another crop with which we are not pulling our weight at all. Pakistan is producing 68m tonnes, while Thailand has an output of 104m tonnes but hey, the African giant only produces 1.4m tonnes. Embarrassingly, Nigeria spends about $337.3m a year importing some 700,000 tonnes of sugar. Basically, we need at least 3m tonnes of sugar for human consumption. To supply the animal feed industry, we will need a sugarcane crop of about 10m tonnes as you get approximately 120 kg of sugar and 38 kg of molasses from 1 tonne of sugarcane.
Am I the only one who sees the immense commercial opportunities in this Fulani herdsmen business? For me, it has been a blessing in disguise as it has opened our eyes to a potential gold mine.
I see no reason why animal husbandry, livestock and meat production cannot take over from crude oil as our national cash cow. What is most fascinating about this sector is that it opens up opportunities in so many other industries.
Over the coming weeks, we shall be looking at the openings in the dairy and leather industries. Who says we need crude oil?