Mr. Suraj Ajiboye, Chief Executive Director, SMAP Farms Ltd, has urged young graduates to explore diversification to deal with changing times and embrace the new technology of cattle rearing.
Ajiboye said this at a 5-day International workshop on Animal-Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) in Africa, organised by the National Biotechnological Development Agency (NABDA) on Thursday in Abuja.
The workshop was in collaboration with industry leaders in cattle breeding and dairy farming such as SMAP farms Ltd and Mississippi State University, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.
He said this has become imperative because the demand for local cow milk by processors is on the increase as dairy farming in Nigeria is not so popular at the moment.
“This agricultural sector is not crowded because a lot of people did not know about its profitability, but if done in a proper way it will keep generating high yield income for years to come.
Ajiboye said farmers can make money from the production of quality beef, milk, cheese, cow skin for leather companies, cow horns, cow bones as well as cow feces for manures and biogas.
He said dairy farming has become an increasingly competitive business in the Country and the requirement for cow milk processor in Nigeria is about 1.8 million per day.
He added that Nigeria’s annual production deficit of over 1 million tonnes of milk is being met by importation, which costs an average of about N174 billion annually and the deficit must be met.
Ajiboye said poor milk yield has always been the major problem facing local diary production, adding that improved nutrition (silage and concentrate supplement), artificial insemination of local breeds and selection of up-to-date milking technology would change the situation.
He stated that the target market for cow milk production in the country was easy with processors looking for cow milk, while urging young graduates to channel their energy into such ventures.
“If you have about 10 milking cows, producing 10 liters of milk per day, which is about 100 liters, currently sold for about N15,000, which shows you will be making N15,000 per day.
“So if you are a young graduate producing 100 liters of milk per day with local cows, generating N15,000 per day in 30 days is over N450,000 per month,” he said.
Ajiboye said with improved methods of storing, processing, packaging, and transporting are employed, the output can be raised substantially for internal use, as well as for export.
“I will say that the more people we have in that industry, the better so that we can begin to save foreign exchange and bring local content into the production of processing milk in Nigeria,” he stated.
He called on youths planning to go into dairy farming not to be swayed by quick profit, adding that the profitability of the business could only be driven by passion.
He stated that there was a need to move away from the mindset of quick money, adding that no one could run any enterprise successfully if the person could not remain within a year.
“In terms of profitability of the business, it is driven by passion but I can tell you that livestock, especially large ruminant and most especially in the diary is very lucrative.”
Ajiboye, however, called on the youth to disabuse their mind from thinking that the business of rearing cattle is the exclusive preserved of the Fulanis.
He said: “the reasons we think that the business of rearing cows belong to the Fulanis is because they are the ones who have been doing that business for years.”
He said that all tribes and other interested person could also join the business, adding that the business of cow had gone beyond nomads.
Ajoboye said that the issue of producing diary could not be left to one particular tribe in the country, whether you are Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo “you can run a diary business within the community you reside.”