Though there are giants in the feed mill business in Nigeria, there are opportunities for small and medium-scale investors. Investigation reveals that the business is not only sustainable, but also lucrative.
Feed milling is sustainable because livestock farmers, especially in poultry and fishery, spend between 60 and 70 per cent of the cost of production on feeding the animals. By implication, 60 to 70 per cent of the cost goes to the feed millers, among who are small and medium-scale operators.
The miller pays the crop farmer who produces the grains and he also pays other raw material suppliers, keeping the cycle going.
Adequate feeding in intensive livestock production is inevitable to ensure rapid growth rate and high production. Seasonal upsurge in the production of broilers for festive periods also boosts increase in demand for feed. Therefore, the feed miller is assured of ready and steady sales if the feed is balanced and good.
Profitability is also guaranteed in animal feed production because bulk buying of inputs, such as maize, soy meal, among others, commands reasonable discounts, reducing the cost of production.
A feed miller and poultry farmer, Mr Aderemi Olasupo, said feed milling as a business is profitable if staff members are faithful. He emphasised adequate supervision, quality inputs, adequate marketing, bulk buying of materials and honesty as core factors of success in the business. He said his feed mill business generates good returns daily.
Categories of feed include chick mash, broiler mash, grower mash, layer mash, breeder mash and fish pellets.
Chick mash: The formulation to meet nutritional requirement of newly hatched chicks and animals up to seven weeks.
Broilers mash: The feed is meant for the broiler chicks. The feed ensures normal growth and development of the livestock. It is rich in protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals.
Growers mash: The mash enables livestock to grow and develop faster in body size, weight, and other internal and external features.
Layer mash: The feed is needed to help egg-laying birds to produce.
Fish pellets: These are meant for feeding fish, especially catfish and tilapia.
According to Head, Operations, Capsfeed Engineering, Mr Amos Fakunle, basic things required in feed production include a space with a parking lot, power generators/ electricity, crusher, mixer, pelletiser, scales, raw materials, as well as packaging machine and bags.
He added that locally made or imported tools could be used, depending on the budget of the investor.
Agro-equipment can be locally fabricated while weighing or scaling machine can be purchased in any major market around. Ingredients for livestock feed can be sourced from different parts of the country, mostly in the northern part, where they are relatively cheaper.
To avoid stocking too many materials if adequate space is not available, concentrates could be used for feed production. Concentrates are combined ingredients which require a few items to make a balanced formulation. They are industrially packaged mostly in 25KG bags, and maize and wheat bran are raw materials added to concentrates to make feeds. The advantage is that the content is industrially tested and usually contamination-free, while the disadvantage is that it could be more expensive than raw ingredients. For a green investor, this is recommended.
Visiting animal farms and placing classified advertorials in major newspapers are some of the strategies in marketing feeds. A miller produces and sells to distributors in bags. You can also have your own sale outlets.
Organising farmers’ forums and training youths in the art of poultry and fish production are also marketing means in feed production business. This method is employed by prominent brands in the sub-sector.
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