Boosting poultry production through pelleting

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THE Poultry industry contributes about 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  from agriculture. Its networth is almost N1.6 trillion. The  chicken population in Nigeria is estimated at about 165 million, producing approximately 650,000 metric tonnes (mt) of meat and 300,000mt of eggs, according to experts.

Its demand is estimated at over 200 million birds, while those for eggs and meat stand at about 790,000mt and 1,500,000mt.

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In Lagos, the demand is driven by the expansion of the middle-class, urbanisation and rapid population growth.

Poultry is an affordable source of protein, and its popularity is rising across socio-economic strata.

The industry is, however, faced with many challenges, especially in  feed. Feed accounts for about 70  per cent of the cost of production. Its prices continue to rise with new entants making it difficult for smallholder farmers to access quality feed for the fowls.

To address this challenge, operators are looking at a wider use of feed pellets by farmers to increase feed intake and weight gain by the chickens. Currently, chicken feed comes mainly mash form. Although there is feed pellet it is mostly used by commercial farmers.

Mash typically results in some waste due to separation of grains (coarse particles) from other ingredients and supplements that causes the flicking behaviour of chickens. The problem is solved in pellet feed which is uniform in proportion and improves digestion of nutrients in broilers.

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Analysts said there are  many production benefits in feeding pellets to poultry. The are better hygiene, quality feed, reduced wastage, decreased ingredient segregation and     decreased opportunities for selective feeding.

Others are increased feed intake and weight gain.

Buoyed by this, the Lagos State Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support, (APPEALS), a Federal Government-World Bank Assisted programme,  has mounted a campaign to encourage small- and medium-scale  poultry farmers to use feed pelleting technology to enhance productivity.

In partnership with a private sector company, Creative Farms Solution Limited, APPEALS is mobilising chicken farmers to engage the new approach to benefit  maximally  from pelletised feed.

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