In this post, we will discuss how to start a profitable cattle rearing business in Nigeria with little capital. I will mostly focus on important considerations I believe will boost your chances of success in this business.
When a cattle farmer has access to the right tools, adequate funding, expert advice and the needed knowledge, there is no question about how lucrative the cattle farming business is in Nigeria.
What I want to do is to show you these tools, give you the information you need to start and give you options on how to raise funding to start your own cattle farming business as soon as possible.
What makes cattle farming so lucrative is number of products one can derive from cattle. The major products are cheese, beef and milk. Also by-products like hide and skin, hoof and bones are useful raw materials for many household and industrial products.
Cattle rearing is lucrative business but you already knew that; you wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t. You want to know the ‘how’ of cattle farming and that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this post.
Starting Cattle farming business in Nigeria
How you succeed as a cattle farmer will be determined by some key decisions you will face. I will discuss some of them below.
To ranch or to herd?
Do you want to build a ranch for your cattle or give them to herdsmen, moving the cattle from place to place to find pasture? This will largely determine how much you will have to invest in the business.
Cattle herding was once preferred over ranching in Nigeria because herding saves a lot of money. You don’t spend much money on cattle fodder – they find their own pasture wherever they are taken, they can rest and sleep anywhere so you don’t spend money on housing, and when they mature you simply sell them off.
However, with the recent activities of certain ‘herdsmen’ in Nigeria, cattle herding has left a bitter taste in many mouths. There are calls for the government to ban cattle herding so that cattle farmers will build ranches for their cattle.
So which should you choose, ranching or herding?
This takes careful consideration because both sides of the ranching vs herding debate have very good points. Here are a few factors to consider before you make a decision.
- Cost: Capital is a serious consideration for any business person. You will need to weigh the cost of these 2 modes before you decide which one to go for. Obviously, ranching is much more expensive but then it is more investor-friendly too.
- Security: Ranchers usually complain of attacks to and theft of their cattle because they are housed in a place and more prone to such unfortunate incidents. In response, the Federal Government announced that they will provide insurance for ranch operators. Still, you need to consider security before you start cattle farming.
- Politics and public sentiments: If the atrocious attacks on people by ‘Fulani herdsmen’ continue, the government may decide to take a hard stand and ban herding activities in the country. If this happens, many herders will scramble to start their own ranch.
- Investor friendliness: This is only my opinion, but as an investor, I would favor the cattle farmer who plans to build a ranch over the farmer who wants to herd cattle. It just makes more sense to me. Again, it’s only my opinion and you should decide which one of these will attract more investors to you.
When you consider these factors, you will then decide whether to start a cattle ranch or to herd cattle until they grow to selling age.
Raising capital to start cattle farming
I’m not going to lie to you, cattle farming is capital-intensive. Yes, you can start with little capital (I will show you how) but if you want to be a major player in this market, you will need money.
The Nigerian government is favorably disposed towards agriculture, so despite the many bottlenecks, you may find it easier to attract funding as a cattle farmer. There are several ways to get government loans and grants for agriculture. I suggest you explore all the options to see which one works out well.
If you have your own capital to invest in the business, it makes even more sense.
How to start cattle farming on a budget
Even if you don’t have all the money, you can still start on a small-scale. You can even start cattle farming as a side passive income business. This is what I mean.
You will need to locate reputable cattle farmers and make a deal with them. You will buy a young calf, or more than one depending on your capital. The farmer will use their resources to grow the calf until they grow to maturity.
When you make a sale, you will take out your investment and share the profit with the cattle farmer using a predetermined sharing formula.
When you think about, this gives you the time to learn the business without staking millions which you could probably lose due to inexperience.
Of course you need to make sure you are dealing with an honest farmer. You can ask around and see if anyone has had earlier dealings with the farmer and what their experience is. There’s so much checking you can do, then you need to trust your instincts and make a move.
If you have the resources to start a big time, large-scale cattle farming business, this is what you do.
Choose a form of cattle production
There are three basic forms of cattle production of which you can choose one to start with, combine more than one or go with all three.
This form is mainly for beef production. They will allow cattle to thrive on large farm lands until they mature to the point of slaughter for beef making.
This involves the production of milk and milk products.
This is just the combination of the beef and dairy brand.
Get a good farmland
There are two basic ways to get a farmland. A cattle farmer might consider leasing a farm land or buying a farmland. Ensure you understand properly the leasing agreement and ensure they are duly signed.
Make sure you get a good farmland with optimum climate conditions for your animals. Also consider availability or proximity to cattle feed.
Then consider the topography of the land to make sure that your farmland is not susceptible to flooding or other forms of land degradation.
Finally, check if there is a government policy on cattle farming in the region before you pay for the land.
Get your animal stock
Visit cattle farms and get healthy stock for your farm. Your attention must be focused on getting healthy and fit cattle and make sure you visit a farm that is well known for assurance that you won’t get swindled. Also take into considerations what breed of cattle you will need.
Get the Required Equipment
The brand you choose will certainly determine the type of equipment needed for your cattle farming. You will need a Cow shed, the feeding equipment and the watering equipment. Ensure they are all in good conditions.
Maintain proper management
This part needs more than just checking up on them regularly. To manage cattle well, you will have to understand what diseases hinders cattle proper growth, how to regularly check their health status and the type of reproduction method to adapt to.
It helps to visit a well known cattle farmer and make consultations on what the best practices are. Also have a competent animal doctor on speed dial.
Relate with other farmers so that you will have a support structure you can count on when you don’t understand things. This will help you run a proper farm and make good returns on your investment. You will find such groups online.
If you are hiring farm hands, make sure they receive proper training so that their ignorance or negligence does not cripple your business.
Register Your Business
Cattle farming is big business. You don’t want to approach it as an individual. So get your business registered. It will be easier to access funding and government support as a registered business than as an individual. Don’t sleep on this.
Cattle farming is a lucrative business. It is also serious business so take it seriously. If you are too shy to be called a cattle farmer (lol), don’t worry, you can still make agriculture riches from these 50 Agriculture Business Ideas.
Let me know how it goes. I look forward to your comments and questions.
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