20th March, 2013
Prince Arinze Onebune, the CEO and Managing Consultant of Jovana Farms is undoubtedly one Nigerian who is passionate about job creation in the country. He has spent many years in grasscutter farming and has gone ahead to preach the gospel to job-seeking graduates. He insists that unlike other forms of animal husbandry it costs next to nothing to start the business even right from one’s backyard. The good news is that grasscutter meat is now being recommended in place of beef because of its health benefits. For this reason he wants the government to appreciate his efforts.
When some people in government talk about poverty alleviation, their mindset is that of providing Okada, Motorcycles, Wheelbarrows and Tricycles for the job-seeking youths.
This idea is not better than investing in animal farming that will stand the test of time, people can become self-employed and self-reliant through agriculture.
All an able-bodied man need is a rain boot and a cutlass. Once he enters into the bush and he is able to get fresh grass to feed the grasscutters the rest is covered. I want the government to look inwards to use agriculture as a sustainable means of job and wealth creation.
This idea started many years ago. I found out that grasscutter farming is lucrative. I did not want to keep the secret to myself, unlike other people. When I found out that young graduates were going about with files and in ties looking for white-collared jobs, I said there was a need to re-orientate their minds towards agriculture. I want those same graduates to be financially free, to be self- dependent.
At our seminars we show participants how to breed the grasscutter and how to start with as little as N52,000. Out of this amount N45,000 is for a family of one male and four females. The N7,000 is for the wooden cage. We teach them the nitty-gritty so as to maximize the farm; how to market grasscutter meat and export them to Italy, Germany, the U.K. France , the U.S.A, especially where you have large concentration of Africans and black people.
Grasscutter farming is very profitable because they have a high reproductive rate. If you breed one male with four females for one year you can get over 45grasscutters. You know what that amounts to in financial terms. Apart from this, the grass they feed on is free. You do not need to feed them like you do in other farms like fishery, piggery and poultry farming.
When they get to the table size you can dispose one for between N5,000 and N10,000 depending on the size as measured in weight. We are now focusing on the breeding stock. Some people go into grasscutter farming without knowing the best type of breed to use, the feeding methods and the right cage to use.
The challenge at the beginning were that of management because it was difficult to get the right breeding stock then. I am happy to tell you that at Jovana Farms today, we have high quality grasscutter breeding stock to start with.
The other challenge is technical. People who want to make profit from grasscutter farming have to go for training. Some people rushed into it without the requisite knowledge and rushed out. But here at Jovana Farms we know grasscutter farming inside out. We have written books and we have CDs to teach people about grasscutter, rabbit, snail, fish and antelope farming. People who cannot make it to our seminars can order for these self-tutorial materials.
People now prefer grasscutter meat because it is white meat instead of cow meat that is red and is not good for your health.
There is a ready market for grasscutter. Go to any major cities in Nigeria and major hotels the delicious meat is served every day depending on the availability. The demand for grasscutter meat is not being met as at now, market is not the problem, production is. At our seminars your eyes will be open to more possibilities.
Jovana farms organizes nationwide sensitization training seminars on the practical ways of making it through small scale farming. Attend our nationwide seminars nearest to you know more opportunities in grasscutter farming. Visit www.jovanafarm.com for more details.