Beef, a by-product of cattle, is one of Nigeria’s most consumed meat products. Year in, year out, many cattle are being slaughtered for beef production. But there is one significant observation to note: most of the cattle herders in Nigeria are of Northern extraction (Fulani Nomads). This doesn’t mean that no other tribe in Nigeria breeds cattle apart from the Fulanis. As a matter of fact, the Igbos also have their native cows, which they call ‘Efi Igbo‘.
Even though the Fulanis are the leading dealers in the cattle rearing business in Nigeria, anyone can venture into this business opportunity and profit from it.
The cattle rearing business is a very lucrative business as it does not only rear cows for meat production but also for milk production and other uses such as leather production.
Cattle farming in Nigeria has to do with raising cattle livestock for consumption. Cattle is a general name for both Cows and Bulls. The Fulani Nomads primarily practice cattle rearing in Nigeria, and it is rampant in the northern part of Nigeria.
BEING A CATTLE FARMER DOESN’T MAKE YOU A FULANI HERDSMAN.
Cattle rearing is a primary industry in Nigeria and is one of the country’s leading meat and dairy product sources. In fact, most families are involved in cattle rearing, either keeping them for milk and meat or selling them to dealers who then sell them to the local butcheries. By choosing to be a cattle farmer, you will have direct access to the market, which makes you privy to buying the animals at wholesale prices and then reselling them to butchers at a profit. So what does it take to get started?
Although cattle rearing in Nigeria is centuries-old, it has grown and evolved to keep up with the current Nigerian market. In recent times, commercial cattle farming has become a popular financial venture in Nigeria, as it provides a stable supply of meat and dairy products all year round.
This article will tell you how to start a cattle farming business in Nigeria, starting from the very first step.
Table of Contents
- What is Cattle Farming?
- How Long Does it Take Cattle to Grow?
- Price Range of Cattle in Nigeria
- How Much Is Required To Start A Cattle Farming Business In Nigeria?
What is Cattle Farming?
Cattle farming is the type of livestock farming that has to do with raising cows for agricultural purposes such as beef, milk, etc. Cattle raising has served as a way of employment for people involved. It also serves as a source of income since it is considered to be very lucrative.
The types of cattle farming are
- Beef Cattle: This is cattle production, whose sole purpose is meat production.
- Dairy Cattle: These are cattle that are raised for milk production
- Dual-purpose Cattle: This cattle type is grown for milk and beef production. It is usually used for milk production for a long time before it is used for beef production.
Some of the economic importance of cattle farming include:
- Cattle raising is a source of employment for those that engage in it.
- It serves as the primary source of revenue for some areas, such as the northern part of Nigeria, which involve extensive cattle raising.
- They provide milk and meat for domestic use.
- Their skin is used for leather production.
- Faeces from cattle are used as manure for plants on farms
Below are a few steps to consider on how to start a cattle farming business in Nigeria
1. Have a business plan
2. Acquire a good location for your business
3. Choose the type of cattle farming you want to go into
4. Build a Cattleshed
5. Purchase and prepare equipment required for cattle raising
6. Get young calves.
7. Raising cows from birth to maturity.
8. Sales of cattle during festive periods such as burials, wedding ceremonies, Christmas, and Islamic festivals.
1. Have a Business Plan
Most people usually go into a business without having a business plan. Having a business plan means prior planning and simulation to understand the possible challenges faced when venturing into this business.
Before going into cattle farming, you should have a business plan and understand the need for your location to establish your farm and your target market. Also, consider factors such as accessibility to water, free land for grazing, etc. These are some factors to consider before starting a cattle-raising business in Nigeria.
2. Acquire Land in a Good Location for your Business
Getting vast and arable land in a good location is very important in raising cattle. This is because cattle like to walk around and feed voluntarily. Space is an essential factor in this business. There should be access to drinkable water in the farmland.
The land should be located in an area away from where commercial or residential activities occur, as pollution may emanate from the cattle farm. Land can be rented or paid outright for. If you already have a large piece of land, you can use it to start this business.
3. Choose the type of cattle farming you want to go into
This is a very important decision as this will determine the structuring of your farm activities. Choose between going into beef cattle production or dairy cattle production, or both. Also, another vital thing to choose is the nature of cattle raising; Ranch or herding?
The ranch method of cattle raising is one where the cattle is raised in an enclosed ranch, and the movement of the cows is controlled and confined to a specific area of the farmland. This type of cattle raising is not rampant in Nigeria.
The herding method of cattle raising is the nomadic type, where cattle are moved from place to place in search of food and water (open grazing). It is the method most adopted by cattle owners in Nigeria. Although this method has many disadvantages, it is still widely practiced in Nigeria.
4. Build a Cattle Shed
For one that owns a ranch, building a cattle shed is very important in cattle raising. The cattle shed should be constructed and provided with an entrance large enough to allow for the free passage of the cattle. It should also accommodate the number of cows you plan to raise comfortably.
The cowshed should be adequately secured to avoid theft and infestation by dangerous animals such as snakes. Fumigation can be done around the surroundings of the cowshed to ensure that the environment is free from these animals. A barbed wire can be constructed around the cowshed for added security.
5. Purchase and Prepare Equipment for Cattle Farming
Equipment required for cattle farming includes feeders, water tubs, a working watering system, and proper health care equipment. Ensure to purchase this equipment. Water can be supplied through boreholes, and health equipment should be readily available to attend to cattle if they fall ill.
6. Get Young Calfs
Young cattle can be bought from the local market where herders sell cows. Different breeds of cattle are suitable for different purposes. Get the best breed, depending on your goal.
Below is a list of different cow breeds and where they are most suitable
For meat production:
For dairy production:
- Adamawa Gudali.
- Sokoto Gudali.
7. Raising of Cow to Maturity
Great care should be taken while raising cows to avoid disease infestation. Cattles are big animals and should be given great attention. When good attention is given to cattle, it is easy to detect when things are not going right. Cows should be adequately fed and can be taken around a field for grazing.
Clean water should also be provided for the cattle to avoid dehydration. The services of a veterinary doctor should be contracted to give regular medical checks on the cattle and ensure that they are all in their best condition. Some of the diseases that might infest cattle include:
- Heartwater: Symptoms of this disease are majorly fever and convulsion in extreme cases. It can be treated with Tetracycline.
- Redwater: Symptoms include fever, lack of appetite, red urine, pale eyes, and sometimes nervous signs such as difficulty walking.
- Gall sickness: Spread by blood, symptoms include depression, lack of appetite, fever, pale gums and eyes, and constipation.
- Ticks: The wounds created by ticks can be infected by bacteria, fungi, and flies.
Beef is a much-needed product in Nigerian homes, and selling it will not be much of a problem. Approach meat butchers and offer to sell your cattle to them at a reasonable price. You can also take your products to nearby markets for sales.
Most cattle farmers in Nigeria also transport their cattle to different parts of the country to increase the demand for their products. Milk produced from cattle can also be sold raw or processed into dry milk for its end users.
How Long Does it Take Cattle to Grow?
From birth, the average age for a cow before it is considered fully grown is about 18 months. It is all a matter of getting fat afterward. The female (cow) gestation period lasts about 280 days before giving birth, which is almost a year.
After that, it takes about two years for the calf to grow large enough to be sold as beef. If a farmer wants to have beef at the age of two, they should start breeding cows when they are five. A calf needs to be fed and tended to inside the first two or three years of its life to reach its full potential of fat. This process can be sped up by feeding the cattle more high-quality feed, resulting in them growing faster.
Price Range of Cattle in Nigeria
Cattle are essential to Nigerian culture and have been integral to developing the country’s economy. Nigeria was the eighth most significant beef producer in Africa, behind South Africa, Tanzania, Chad, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The country’s cattle also hold cultural significance, with many Nigerians associating them with wealth and prestige.
Several breeds are available in Nigeria, including the Keteku, the Kur), Adaptaur, and Bunaji. The prices for these vary greatly depending on whether they’re male or female, their age, and their quality as breeding stock.
For example, a little cow would cost approximately N45,000 to N60,000 in North Nigeria, while a medium size bull would be around N150,000 to N200,000. A matured breed is worth approximately N300,000 to N500,000. Typically the price is based on weight; the heavier the animal is when sold, the higher its price will be.
How Much Is Required To Start A Cattle Farming Business In Nigeria?
Starting a cattle farming business might be pretty expensive due to the cost of cattle. A matured cow costs between 200,000 Nairas to 300,000 Naira. However, young calves are not very expensive. Cattles can also be obtained from female cows who give birth. This reduces the cost of buying young calves.
Therefore, the cost of starting a cattle farming business can cost anywhere between 200,000 naira and above. The actual cost is dependent on the number of cows and other factors that are dependent on location, feeding cost, etc.