6 Beautiful Specializations in Agriculture business for intending Farmers
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a lower middle-income country situated in the West African region with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean forming the country’s southern border. Regardless the importance of oil exports, agriculture remains the cornerstone of the Nigerian economy, employing 36.5 percent of the entire labour force, thus being a meaningful source of livelihood for the majority of the population. Despite an economic contraction in recent years, the value added of the agricultural sector remains relatively high with 21 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, in the 1960s, agriculture was the main foreign exchange earner for Nigeria through export crops such as palm oil. However, this status declined as crude oil took over as the nation’s main export. Nonetheless, agriculture is currently still thriving by producing export crops. In the second quarter of 2018, the total value of exported agricultural produce was N85.9 billion. In the previous quarter of 2018, agriculture contributed N73.25 billion so there was a quarter growth of 17.3%.
What does all these statistics tell us? It is a way of sensitizing wise Nigerians and perhaps Africans that Agriculture is the way to go. Everyone of us should be forward-thinking in the direction of agriculture. Sadly, many people are oblivious of all these facts and majority of the people actually believes that farming is an old-fashioned kind of occupation meant for some old folks in the village. Little do they realize that agriculture is one of the most lucrative venture anyone can get involved with today. For this purpose, it is my pleasure to write this piece to educate our readers on different beautiful areas and specializations that are possible for anyone who is interested in agriculture. This will help you see the fact that the practice of agriculture isn’t by any means limited to the use of hoes and cutlasses on a farmland – a picture many of us still carry from how the concept of agriculture was taught to us back in our primary and secondary school days. The following are some of the beautiful specializations in the agriculture business for intending farmers.
- Livestock farming
Livestock agriculture is concerned with raising and maintaining livestock, primarily for the purposes of producing meat, milk, and eggs. Livestock agriculture also includes wool and leather productions. The livestock species play very important economic and socio-cultural roles for the wellbeing of rural households, such as food supply, source of income, asset saving, source of employment, soil fertility, livelihoods, agricultural diversification and sustainable agricultural production. Livestock farming has been a part of human society for most of history, ever since humans started domesticating animals to make their life better. But as with most forms of farming, such as agriculture, livestock farming too has intensified, particularly in recent decades.
Advantages of livestock farming are:
- It generates high-quality food products such as meat, egg, milk, cheese, etc.
- It is one of the few human productive economic activities that are truly sustainable.
- It generates employment opportunities and serves as a source of income
- It can help a country to generate foreign exchange earnings through the export of livestock products.
- Other local economic sectors benefit directly or indirectly from its activity: food processing industries, handicrafts, tourism and hospitality.
- Bee farming
Bee farming is a profitable venture, which you can set up with less than one hundred and fifty thousand naira, without additional costs thereafter. This is because bees do not require daily care and you would not need labor until harvest and processing period. Do you know beekeeping and honey business in Africa has huge potentials? Honey is the most popular natural sweetener in the world and the global trade in bee product is worth millions of dollars every year. Due to its diverse use, the worldwide consumption of honey is so huge, its supply barely matches its demands. Africa consumes more than three times the amount of honey it produces. Aside Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania who produces most of the continent’s honey, other large markets like Nigeria and South Africa have a lot of unmet demand for bee product.
Another good reason to conder bee farming is that apart from the honey as a product, the bees provide many products we are quite useful in many ways. Other products you get from bees are wax (for use in furniture polish, candles and crayons) pollen (used for food, cosmetics, preparation of medicine and hand pollination), propolis (used for repairs of the honeycombs), venom (used for preparing medicine), royal jelly (which is food for queen bees), and so on and so forth.
- Mushrooms Farming
Mushroom farming is one of the farming business that holds high prospect but has neither gained recognition nor ground in Nigeria. Nowadays, health conscious people are avoiding red meat like plague and this has boosted the mushroom market. Hotels, supermarkets, and a growing number of individuals are buying it and the demand for it is growing at a steady rate. Hence, the mushroom market continues to expand. Mushroom is known to contain low cholesterol and fats, and it contains multiple vitamins that nourishes the human body and helps us live longer. The great thing about mushroom is that you can grow it everywhere! Few that are into mushroom farming are making serious money and the process of starting mushroom farm is quite simple. Another good thing about mushroom farming is that it is not capital intensive. And the demand for edible mushrooms is quite high in the market. You can be making as high as two million every 3 months if you take up mushroom farming now in commercial quantity.
Read Also: 9 Amazing ways Technology has made farming extremely easy
- Snail farming
snail farming is one of those fields of agriculture that if one ventures in it, such a person would never have any cause to regret. Many countries of the world benefit much from snail farming business. Snails are currently in short supply in Nigeria today because its demand is significantly higher than its supply in the market; there is enough evidence all around us that snail breeding is a profitable business. Snail meat is a good source of protein which is rich in iron and calcium, but low in fat and cholesterol compared to other protein sources like poultry, pigs and cattle. Snails are environment-friendly, because, snails’ droppings or the snails themselves do not have offensive odour like other animals as pigs, poultry, etc. Droppings from the snails serve as manure which improves the organic content of the soil. Also, snails are small organisms and require limited space, therefore, they can be reared at the backyard.
- Rice farming
A report from fao.org shows that Nigeria is not just the largest consumer of rice in Africa, but is also one of the largest rice producers on the continent. Despite these two facts, Nigeria remains one of the largest importers of rice in the world. What does this simple mathematics tell us about the rice markets in Nigeria? This import statistics sends a crucial message to the agricultural industry in Nigeria, that there’s still so much more to go around for new and existing rice farmers in the country. The FAO’s report shows that rice generates more income for Nigerian farmers than any other cash crop in the country.
- Ginger farming
The demand for ginger across the globe is too huge to be met at the current production capacity and, as such, the industry needs new entrants, especially to meet export demand. Though ginger is a common item found in almost every household in Nigeria (people have found many uses for ginger over the years), most people don’t know that it can actually be a pot of gold. The ginger root is highly medicinal, which makes it a commodity enjoying significantly high demand. The root is used as raw material in manufacturing processes of health products, drinks and the bakery industry. Ginger has three forms in which it can be sold – fresh whole ginger root, dried ginger and powdered ginger. When packaged, these three forms have different market values and potentials.
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