Nigerian banks not ready for agriculture – Poultry farmer

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Loremm Integrated Farms, one of the large poultry farms at the outskirts of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is just about 10 months old but the investment is huge. Its first batch of birds came in August last year – they are five months old and egg production has begun in earnest with 60% of the birds laying.

Located at Gora, along the Abuja-Keffi highway, the farm is targeting one million birds in the next few years.

Chief Okafor Lawson Nkem, chairman of the farm, is a business man with investments spread across the hospitality industry, who has found new romance with farming – particularly poultry business.

“I am not into this to amass profit or recoup my capital in the short run, this is a long time investment and I came into it because I have passion for it,” he said.

Asked if he is happy being in poultry farming, he said: “I am very happy in poultry faming, better than any business I have ever ventured into. It is extremely challenging and I love challenges.”

The farm, with a staff strength of 35, currently has about 50,000 birds and hopes to raise the bar to 75,000 birds by October this year.

On feeding, the laying birds need 100 bags  while the nine weeks chicks consume 30 bags daily, which costs N400,000 and that  has to continue until the birds start sustaining themselves for the next six months.

Chief Nkem said the market potentials for the business is very attractive, noting that “Right now even the eggs that we are going to produce in the next two weeks have been paid for.”

Despite the challenges of the rising cost of feed (N3,500 per bag), Chief Nkem is happy with the performance of the birds so far, stressing that “We started last year, and because we put in a lot of money, we are seeing encouraging result right now. This is something that will take some farmers six to eight years to get to achieve.”

But Chief Nkem while sharing his experience on sourcing funds said banks in Nigeria were not willing to lend to agriculture.

“There are some banks I spoke with, they came to the farm and said wow this is beautiful but they don’t want to take risk. No bank in Nigeria wants to take risk; they want you to take the risk. They want you to bring in the first batch, succeed, second batch, succeed and third batch succeed then they will want to come in.

“Assuming you are in a situation where you don’t have money, how will you do the first, second and third batches? Banks will only come in when you have succeeded. So how can you succeed if the banks are not there? That is the difference between banks in Africa and those in Europe,” he lamented.

He said he has developed the facilities around the farm and spend about N14 million to get light to Saka village, the farm’s host community.

 

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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