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Adamu Tilde: Young farmer eyes egg powder, banana stem sanitary pads production

If anything else is topmost in his mind now, it is his plan for the future which is wrapped in a number of projects, exceptional…

If anything else is topmost in his mind now, it is his plan for the future which is wrapped in a number of projects, exceptional ones, which are in the pipeline.

At the age of 34, Adamu Tilde, has already acquired three degrees and floated a number of farms, in which he invested his time and resources. From this venture, he is targeting heading straight into the production of many value chain products that are rare in the country.

Speaking with Daily Trust on how it all started, Dr Adamu Tilde could easily connect his passion and dream with what he acquired in the four corners of educational classrooms.

“My first, second, and third degrees were all in the fields of agriculture. So, it is only natural that I have a strong inclination towards agriculture. Though to have interest in agriculture is one thing, while to invest in it is entirely different. I invested in and am still investing in agriculture because of the expanding and boundless opportunities in the sector.

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“The agricultural value chain is big: farm equipment and machinery, production, processing, value addition, packaging, logistics, post-harvest preservation, etc. Any of these is a potential niche that is in its formative stage in Nigeria,” he told this reporter.

Unlike other Nigerians with such a collection of degrees who roam the streets of major cities looking for jobs, Dr. Tilde has poultry farms for producing eggs and broilers; ram fattening farm, and a banana plantation.

“At the moment, I have 10,000 birds in active laying, producing about 300 crates of eggs per day. I also have 5,000 chicks that are growing. For broilers, I stock them in batches of 500 each every two weeks to guarantee ceaseless and continuous supply to my customers.

“I started poultry farming in 2006 as an apprentice on my brother’s farm. However, because of my undergraduate and subsequent post-graduate studies, I was not wholly committed to them. I went back to it fully in 2019,” he said.

Although the poultry industry has been in a difficult situation in recent years due to rising feed costs, forcing many farmers to close shop, the young entrepreneur said his education in agriculture helped him navigate his way through the challenges, albeit not without some pain.

“Feed accounts for 70–80% of the total cost of production in poultry production. It used to be lower, but not anymore. Reduced profit margins have hurt me. However, the situation is not all that bad since the rising cost of feed is always accompanied by a corresponding rise in the price of eggs and a kilogram of broiler meat.

“My background and training in Animal Science have been of great help in meandering through the challenges. I ensure strict adherence to biosecurity to minimize the incidence of disease and deploy effective management of the birds to facilitate the high and continuous laying of eggs by the birds,” he explained.

When asked what he believes is essential for any poultry farmer who wants to flourish in the industry, the agriculturist recommended farmers to contribute one thing to their farms: ‘Attention’.

“Attention. Attention. Attention. The poultry industry is the most developed sector of the livestock industry in Nigeria. All the associated factors (source of DoCs, feed, disease diagnosis and medication, etc.) that would make one succeed are fairly well developed in the country. What remains is the need for undivided attention,” he emphasized.

On the ram fattening business, he mentioned a few challenges that farmers should be aware of in order to deal with the seasonal nature of the sales.

He said ram fattening is “Not that lucrative because of its seasonality and the delicate nature of rams. However, if you can position yourself very well by selling your fattened rams directly to consumers, you can make a killing during the Sallah (Eid-al Adha). Otherwise, middlemen will rip off your profit.”

Dr Tilde said the most important thing a farmer must do for successful cow or ram fattening is to “Stock-up feeds (harawa, kowa, kaikayi, dusa – grains stalks, chaff, husk) during the harvest period”.

He added that there should be a “careful selection of rams and bulls with features and potential for muscle deposition, and deployment of veterinary services.”

He told Daily Trust that, like many farmers who have been devastated by insecurity or theft on their farms, which has halted their ambition for expansion, he has also been severely affected but has not given up.

“In January 2021, rustlers carted away 128 rams from my farm. It was a devastating experience. But alhamdulillah. I was traumatized after the incident. I thought about quitting. But my brother sat me down and said something that has remained my guiding principle since then: If they (the rustlers) are hell-bent on perpetuating their heinous activities, why should you (Adamu) quit when you are on the side of truth?

“The worst thing is to get killed. As Muslims, you are a martyr if you are killed while protecting your halal source of income. Since then, I have been expanding without worrying about anything,” he said.

But the biggest lesson that he learned anytime he looks back to the beginning of his farming and investment in livestock, is that “you cannot run it through a proxy. You just have to be present.”

On his investment in banana plantation, he said a friend and business partners ignited the passion in him.

“So far, we have more than 10,000 stands of banana. We supply our banana to some select stores and supermarkets, but we mostly sell to small retailers,” he said.

When asked about his future intentions and investments, the agriculturist said he is working on projects that will be among the few in the country.

 “I have three major projects in the pipeline: egg powder production; setting up a company to produce sanitary pads and other products from banana stems; and a company to produce animal feeds,” Dr Tilde said.

 

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