Feed finishing

The global demand for meat and rising prices are currently at unprecedented high levels. Propelled by high gross domestic product (GDP) growth, globalisation, higher incomes, increased urbanisation and a growing middle class, diets are rapidly diversifying away from traditional staple commodities and more towards high value products, including meat. Livestock production on the African continent has been constrained by low productivity, animal diseases and poor processing standards for animal health and food safety. The import ban on meat by the Nigerian government, the growing demand for meat, and policy rethinks on meat trading across the borders have made investment in livestock more lucrative.

However the productivity of cattle and small ruminants in Nigeria remains low, farmers often able to complete a few rearing cycles in a year. Slaughtered livestock are often reared for too long with varied nutritional intake, resulting in much tougher meat than generally desired. Nutrition for livestock is also often poor, and local feed finishing activities fall below recommended quality. To reduce the supply to demand gap, an improved technology which increases the quality of animal meat production and shortens its rearing duration becomes necessary. This has led to feed finishing.

Feed finishing enables farmers to complete multiple production cycles in a year at more competitive costs. Vast commercial opportunities exist for feed finishing livestock in Nigeria, both for the regular market as well as for festive markets like Sallah and other celebrations. Cattle feed finished over 90 days can gain an average of 20 – 25% more weight, with similar gains for sheep and goats over a 40 day period. Varying by the cost of input, net profit margins are about 16-21% for cattle and 18-20% for sheep and goats, significantly exceeding current meat sector margins of an average of 10%.

Propcom Mai-karfi is working with poor livestock farmers in communities that are interested in feed finishing to establish business models for fattening of cattle, sheep and goats. Preliminary feedback has shown that this intervention is capable of improving family incomes, supporting market linkages, and enhancing the sector. Currently Propcom Mai-karfi is working with communities in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa and Zamfara states to adopt the feed finishing culture.