Kwara State produces vast amounts of agricultural products annually and the lads and I thought it would be interesting to know a bit more. I come from a family that owns a farm and because I like animals, I've always enjoyed visiting. The farm we were visiting is called Yamfy farms and it is an industrial poultry farm, a few minutes out of Offa town.
It was peak harmattan so the air was cool and the sun was warm; perfect for walking around and learning about poultry farming. The main gate opens up into a sanitising station and then leads into a long winding road that stretches throughout the farm. We drove through the greenery of the cashew orchard and decided to stop for a bit.
We learnt that cashew trees are evergreen and they grow a fleshy sweet fruit accompanied by a kidney shaped seed, but unfortunately we weren't visiting during the right season to see any fruit. Cashew fruit can be processed into juice and alcohol, and the nut is a common snack that oil can be extracted from. They can grow up to 14 metres tall, but their dwarf variants (which are more profitable), only grow to about 6 metres.
Cashew trees have large leaves so they cast quite a shadow. The orchard's shade felt amazing in the midday sun. The colours were astounding and we spent a bit of time here noting the numerous potential uses the crop had and the stress-free nature of growing them.
Next, we drove to a large field that is dedicated to planting the yearly crop. The crops had been harvested not too long ago, so the field was quite bare. The lack of crop enabled us to see far into the distance we were able to see the entire valley of pen houses, hatcheries, storage and office facilities, and it was here that the scale was apparent.
Next we decided to visit the hatchery, and were able to get a tour. Prior to entering the hatchery, some eggs are cleaned and sold off for eating while the rest are kept in a warm and dark room, around 37° celsius to hatch healthily.
Currently, about 200,000 eggs are hatched in trays every week but at optimum capacity, this number can be closer to 350,000. The chicks are kept warm and fed a healthy mix of maize, soya and other ingredients and grow quite fast. The one below had hatched the night before...
We then drove to one of the pen houses we saw on the horizon. There are almost 20 of them, both broilers and layers and each one holds between 40,000 and 45,000 birds.
They looked closer together from the horizon but as you approach, you notice they're quite spread apart. Once again, we sterilised our feet, and stepped in to see multiple rows of older birds. The cages were nicely sized, and the birds had adequate room to eat and drink. Their waste drops through the bottom of the cages for easy cleaning and to prevent bacteria spread. In these cages, they grow to maturity for consumption.
Kwara State is known for producing agricultural products and it was quite an interesting afternoon to see where a large amount of meat and eggs are farmed. There is a wealth of agribusiness opportunities in the state of harmony and I was privileged to see and learn about a segment of it.
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