HOW TO START A CATTLE REARING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
Cattle rearing is one of the most practiced form of animal husbandry in the country today. It generates a huge amount of income and is a significant part of the agricultural industry. The cattle rearing business is mostly practiced in the northern part of the country with cattle owners making use of nomadic system of agriculture to rear the animals and derive specific products from them. In recent times, the business has become something not only practiced in the north with entrepreneurs keen to tap into the market.
The business of cattle farming or rearing, is simply the rearing of cattle for the main purpose of deriving meat and milk. The cattle are taken care of and given the best of treatment for a number of years after which they must have become mature and are ready to produce meat or milk. Farm owners can either decide to select between rearing for milk and rearing for meat while in some cases, farmers can be involved in both. This is something that can be achieved based on capital invested. A little capital will only be able to start a small one while a lot larger capital can be used to start up both.
The rearing process of cattle is almost quite similar to every other form of animal husbandry except with a few differences. There are two ways to actually rear the cattle and they include the nomadic system and the ranching system. Nomadic system is the most practiced system of cattle rearing. It is done simply by moving the animals from place to place without having a suitable place to stay. The cattles are always moving and it is along that path that they search for food and water and other things that make them comfortable. Unlike the nomadic system, the ranching system actually offers the cows a place to stay though this comes at a huge cost but it is the safest option when starting a business like this. With the ranching system, the animals are on a farm where they can receive utmost care rather than have them move around even under unfavorable conditions.
In a case where animals are sick and needs urgent attention, it is always easy to get them the help they need on the farm and also keeps them away from the others so as not to infect them. All these and more are some of the things farmers must consider before starting the business. Even these days, farmers are looking to ranches as a solution to problems arising from nomadic agriculture, one of which includes clashes with farmers. Ranching, as I’ve said, comes at a high cost as it is just as similar to setting up a farm where all things neccesary for the well-being of the cattle are made available.
Starting a business like this needs a lot of hard work and commitment and just like most agricultural venture, a large amount of capital except you’re starting really small with just a few cows and then look to expand after a couple of years. Capital cuts across everything money will be spent on during the process of rearing the animals and it is can be called the pivot to the other elements in the business because without it, nothing at all can be done. Equipments, of course, are an important aspect of this kind of animal husbandry especially if you’re starting a ranch. There are certain equipments that must be made available on the farm to ensure work is in progress and success is achieved.
In the next sub heads, I’ll be discussing the procedures that can be used in starting a cattle farming business in Nigeria and also some key factors to be considered as you plan to start and also during the course of operations.
1. DO A COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH
This is a really important topic when it comes to starting a business of any kind. Research is always very important. As a start up or someone who probably knows just a little about the business, it is very advisable to seek knowledge regarding cattle farming. Even for individuals who already can be considered experts or are quite knowledgeable about the subject, there is need to do a thorough research about the business you’re about to venture into. There might be something you’re missing or probably a new technique or advancement in town that could help the business move forward.
As mentioned earlier, cows can either be reared for either meat or milk and individuals might need to select one and specialize. Rearing for meat involves taking care of the animals until they are mature enough to produce good meat and which at this time they can be sold. Rearing for milk is a little bit complicated unlike the one for meat. The cows are allowed to mature well until when they can produce milk. The milk can then be sold or even processed into different forms as we can see today in markets.
There are also different species of cattle and it is up to individuals to get information about the species and select the one that best suits the conditions in the country and also the one that will be more productive in producing either milk or meat as already decided by the entrepreneur. Also find out information about how well people purchase it in the market. Remember, you’re farming for sale, so you don’t want to start a business where people won’t buy your products.
There are a number of useful guidelines and methods of cattle farming also available on the internet. Make use of them and ensure you’re well aware of everything or rather nearly everything the business entails. Get advices from successful farmers and ask questions about the business well enough. By the time the research phase is completed, entrepreneurs can then write a business plan after which the planning stage can commence.
2. DECIDE ON LOCATION
At this point, it is clear that the animals can either be moved around or kept in a ranch. Entrepreneurs must now select between either options depending on their budget or financial resources. The two, of course, comes with advantages and disadvantages but the most preferable and safest option is ranching. You can decide to start small with just a few animals on a farm with all the neccesary things available for their care. It is always expensive as opposed to the nomadic system which can also prove to be very stressful for farmers. Whichever way, pick a suitable location that best suits the animals and provide adequate conditions for them.
3. GET THE EQUIPMENTS AND SUPPLIES
At this stage, everything needed for the success of the business is made available including the animals. The cattle is the most important thing even for the start of the business. Without it, there’s no point of thinking about the business. The animals can be gotten from large farms. Also supplies like their food and vaccines can then be gotten. Whatever you do pick the one with the best chance of helping the cattle and the business. Other equipments can then be gotten. You might not need any equipments really if you’re practicing the nomadic system for obvious reasons, the animals are not in one place.
4. EMOLOY LABOR
If you’re starting the business small, you might not be in need for labor but in cases where the farm is a big one or the farm has gotten to the stage where you want to expand, you might need a few workers to help you on the farm. Employ people with actual skills who will know what to do on the farm.
5. MARKETING AND SALE OF BUSINESS
There’s no business that doesn’t need marketing. It simply helps to boost sales. At this stage, the animals are mature and you’re ready to put them or their products out for sale. Visit markets and meat hubs to advertise your products to the retailers. Also, you can decide to visit milk processing companies who are always in need for milk to advertise your product.
Starting any business at all is not easy. Animal husbandry is no different as it requires a considerable level of work to be able to reach the desired goals of the entrepreneur. Commitment is also important in this kind of business. The cattle farming business is a lucrative one that promises to bring in profits if and only if, sufficient work is in place.