25th October, 2013
By Arinze Onebunne
Nigeria has a population of about 160 million from the 6.5 billion of the world population. Even with these, less than 20 percent are rich while more than 80 percent are poor. The question you must ask yourself is…. What category do I belong? Do you earn enough? Are you tired of being bossed around or fear of being sacked anytime? Do you want to choose your own working hours? Do you need extra or part-time business that will give you extra income? If you answer yes, then plan yourself out of employment with small-scale animal production.
As at 2008, more than 11 million Nigerian graduates were unemployed, yet we have more than 700,000 students finishing from our different higher institutions yearly and graduating into an uncertain labour market. It’s a pity because the number keeps increasing!! The Nigeria’s economic recovery programmes have necessitated a radical shift from total dependence on government for jobs to self-employment.
Personally, I found out that our academic curricular is not structured to make us business conscious, that’s why people do not understand the concept of private enterprise. After school, picking up a business idea becomes difficult; this is the reason many people are unemployed. While in school, they believe that the job is waiting for them. It’s no more like that today. The reality is that, you have to look inwards to create job for yourself and others.
Ever heard of backyard farming? No. Then you are behind time. Backyard entrepreneurship is thriving. To be in the business, all you need to do is to convert that space in your backyard into a farm. Many, who are into it, are making their millions quietly and boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
At Jovana Farms we are encouraging people to start small-scale farming because it has enormous capacity to touch lives. Although, large scale farming has its own advantage, but it’s capital intensive and the risk aversion nature of our people have made it difficult for many entrepreneurs to go into it and so, the price of food has remained high in Nigeria.
There are inspiring and interesting accounts of backyard entrepreneurs, who have achieved tremendous financial success from this relatively low-profile but forward thinking venture. Many of these small scale animal farming businesses have emerged because of the country’s sluggish economy that has compelled the unemployed to look inwards.
If one has any available space at the backyard, then you don’t have problem to start a small-scale business. From mushroom, geese, duck, guinea-fowl, rabbit farming to raising grasscutter, guinea-pig, snail, antelope, quail and fish, all these are passive money spinners. Nigerians can augment their income from backyard farming.
Currently, there is a wide gap in the food supply chain; the demand for vegetables and eggs in cities is high and growing as fast as the urban population. Besides, one can start raising rabbits, chicken and turkey for profit. Most rabbits are raised for meat, pelt and for laboratory research. Rabbits meat is healthy and contains adequate vitamins and minerals, one needs just about N70,000 to set up a micro rabbit business. A little care, market planning and timely technical support can bring amazing results for any serious farmer. Other opportunities are geese, mushrooms and fish fingerlings production, which stemmed from the fact that Nigerians are large consumers of these items especially fish. The fish farming business is not growing as expected due to unavailability of quality fingerlings. This is because of inadequate infrastructure for hatcheries for fingerlings production. For this project one needs about N130,000. High demand exists for catfish fingerlings as they don’t require huge investment for aspiring farmers.
What investors need, is the knowledge to maximize the potential and tap into the market. Besides, rearing grasscutter, guinea fowl, antelope and guinea pigs is one of the most practical and versatile animals one can raise. They are cheap and easy to handle. To raise grasscutter , one requires at least N60,000. These include the cost of 1-male and 4-females grasscutters and their cage. You don’t buy food for them as in fish, poultry and pig farming because they feed mainly on grass. Snail farming is sustainable when done in a free-range system; snails eat wide varieties of food making them inexpensive to rear. One snail can breed up to 120-300 snails in a year depending on the specie.
Another money spinner is the ostrich and quail birds. They thrive very well in tropical climates and are relatively inexpensive to maintain. Quail birds can be raised without stress and one can start with N85,000. The birds mature in about six weeks and are usually in full egg production by 50 days of age.
If the idea of starting a small-scale animal farming appeals to you, there’s no better time to get started.
A bit of work, a little farmer ingenuity, and you’ll be ready to start making money from your backyard.
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 and know more opportunities in animal farming. Visit us at www.jovanafarms.com or www.facebook.com/jovanafarm or call 08033262808 for more details.