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Alhaji Shehu Musa, the CEO of Musa Dankano Farms Limited situated in Malumfashi, Katsina State, is a seasoned farmer who has extensive experience in crops,…

Alhaji Shehu Musa, the CEO of Musa Dankano Farms Limited situated in Malumfashi, Katsina State, is a seasoned farmer who has extensive experience in crops, poultry, aquaculture and other aspects of agriculture.

With over 300 hectares of farmland space, Alhaji Musa, a retired director in the federal civil service, established the farm in 1986.

Musa Dankano Farms operates an extensive and intensive fish farming system, providing different species of fish that includes Tilapia, Catfish and Bonga.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that there was provision for earthen and concrete rearing ponds in the farm.

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Similarly, different units of ponds exist in the farm, including nursery, rearing, production, segregation and breeding ponds with capacity of containing 40,000 fish.

According to Mallam Abdullahi, one of the farm’s staff, the earthen pond is 1.2 metres deep, a length of 10 metres by a width of 8 metres.

“We have concrete ponds measuring 10 feet by 10 feet by 4 feet built with installed plumbing pipe for inlet and outlet of water. Each has 1,000 fish capacity.”

Abdullahi added that the ponds get water from their industrial borehole water from the stream within the farm.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the farm, Alhaji Shehu Musa, said fish production has suffered some hitches due to management issue and they were charting a new management plan to effectively revive the production.

“We had produced fish for four years. Zaria, Kano and Gusau were our major markets; with our weekly sales above N300,000 then at the rate of N1,200 per kilogram of mainly catfish. We have four reliable boreholes one of which gives 5,000 litres of water per minute and can irrigate 20 hectares of vegetable farm.”

On what he plans to do as corporate social responsibility in Malumfashi, Alhaji Shehu said they have made a submission to National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) for the farm’s registration to train youths on agricultural production.

“We have also talked to the College of Animal Studies Mando Kaduna, an affiliate of ABU Zaria, that will issue certificate to our students after taking and passing examinations set by the college. We will look for students here in Malumfashi and by extension Katsina State for the training that will equip our youth with technical knowledge of fish, poultry, animal productions and other aspects of agriculture. The aim is to encourage agricultural entrepreneurship among our teaming youths,” he said.

Moreover, Musa Dankano Farms established two feed mills at the farm, the poultry and fish feed mills; the idea was to reduce the cost of buying the feeds from outside and to maintain the desired quality of the feed.

A large part of the raw materials needed in the milling such as soybeans, sorghum and maize are produced inside the farm.

The farm is run with solar powered electricity, propelling large hatchery machines installed in the farm.

Regarding the poultry flock management, the farm placed a lot of importance on Bio-security and support which help in maintaining disease free environment within the 5,000 capacity birds’ pens.

The CEO of the farm, Alhaji Shehu Musa, said they were working towards partnering with Syngenta—an international Agrotech company, to produce improved seeds for farmers and in the long run produce poultry and fish feeds.

“Hopefully, from February, Musa Dankano Farms in partnership with Syngenta will start producing improved seeds of maize and soybeans, the company will invest its chemicals, fertilizer, seeds and technical know-how while we will provide the farmland, machinery and logistics. Two expatriates were hired to head finance and general management of the project and I will be there as the Chief Executive Officer.”

Musa added that in the long run, the partnership will produce fish and poultry feeds in commercial quantity and the farm will serve as a technical demonstration farm. “The next three years of our production will be that of improved seeds of maize and soybeans, targeting farmers outside.”

Cattle production

Cattle rustling and banditry that was almost permeating Katsina State has posed a serious threat to livestock production.

Alhaji Shehu said from 1986 to early 90s, he invested in cattle production and it was one of the most profitable sections of the farm before the advent of cattle rustling and banditry.

“There was a time I had over 2000 cattle in the farm and because the value of a cow remains relatively constant despite Naira devaluation, I enjoyed financial security with their production. We became threatened after cattle in the neighbouring farm belonging to one retired Brigadier General were rustled; we had no choice than to sell them and invest in small ruminant animals,” he said.

The small animals like sheep and goats according to Alhaji Shehu were not being produced for any purpose other than a store of value pending the general improvement of security situation in the state.

“Goats multiply faster than the other animals and we have a lot of them, as well as sheep.”

He further said banditry has altered most farmers’ equation in Katsina State as many of them cannot access their farmlands in Kankara, Danmusa, Batsari, Safana, Jibia, Faskari and Sabuwa LGAs.

“Malumfashi area is relatively peaceful compared to the more volatile local government areas. The volume of egg produced in Katsina State has drastically reduced as most poultry farms have closed shop for fear of bandits’ attack. Livestock production is also affected but we pray that this administration will holistically contain the security challenges to give agriculture a breathing space,” said Alhaji Shehu Musa.

 

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