With Matthew Denis
Global agri-business, Olam International has begun production at two new poultry plants in Nigeria following an investment of $150 million.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently inaugurated Olam Poultry Feed Mill in Kaduna State.
The company has also started work at its integrated poultry and fish feed mill at Ilorin, Kwara State capital.
With a combined capacity of 720,000 metric tonnes of poultry feed annually, Olam aims at directly addressing a significant supply gap for poultry meat in Nigeria, giving farmers and distributors access to high-quality feed at competitive prices.
Olam also has a team of veterinarians who will train up to 10,000 farmers a year in best poultry farming practices.
Olam said its poultry initiatives have the potential to indirectly create ‘150,000 to 200,000 rural jobs’ for Nigerians as the sector is stimulated.
Olam projects that its investment will enhance domestic poultry production by approximately 8 billion eggs and 100 million kg of poultry meat – the equivalent of 40 eggs and 0.5kg of chicken per Nigerian per year. This is expected to result in a reduction in the foreign exchange currency spent on frozen imports.
In Kwara State, Olam’s new fish feed manufacturing facility will boost feed supply to help meet rising demand in Nigeria for fish.
Olam said one of the barriers to increasing production is readily available and affordable floating fish feed and it currently accounts for over 70% of the local farmers’ production costs.
Olam CEO for Grains, KC Suresh, said: “We have leveraged our deep knowledge of Nigeria and 27 years’ experience across exports, imports, manufacturing and farmer engagement to identify the needs of Nigerian consumers.
“We thank the governors of Kaduna and Kwara States for supporting our projects. Our world-class facilities will provide high-quality, cost-effective products that will help farmers and rural Nigerians to prosper. In the same way that Olam Grains has built a highly successful wheat milling footprint across Africa, we will be looking to scale our animal feed operations, both in and beyond Nigeria.”
As part of its responsibility programme, the company has introduced an integrated rainwater harvesting programmes at both sites for in-house water requirements and a boiler that utilises renewable agri-waste fuels to reduce dependence on fossil-fuel based energy. It is also working with various state governments to enable a regular supply of eggs for school meal programmes at below-market prices.