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ISSN : 1225-8504(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8165(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture Vol.28 No.4 pp.459-466

Production Systems and Constraints in Market-oriented Smallholder Chicken Production in Southwest States of Nigeria

Adesehinwa A. O. K, Saka J. O, Oyegbami A, Omole A. J, Gyoung-Rae Cho*
Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Obafemi Awolowo University, Moor Plantation, Ibadan Nigeria
*International Technology Cooperation Center, RDA, Jeonju 54875, Korea
Corresponding author: +82-63-238-1125;
October 14, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016


This study aims to survey current chicken industry and the status of technology based on the KAFACI project on the promotion of good management for increased productivity of market oriented small scale chicken producers in Nigeria. The agricultural sector has been identified as a virile sector with varieties of opportunities for the much sought diversification of revenue base and employment generation in Nigeria despite the dominance of smallholder farmers. The chicken enterprise has being a component of the livestock industry showing increasing importance. Growing entrepreneurships for sustainable growth of the industry requires investigating the prevailing environment in market-oriented chicken production in Southwest Nigeria. This study investigated the production practices, constraints of market oriented smallholder chicken farmers. Data were generated through farm survey of 240 farmers selected by multi-stage sampling techniques from 5 out of 6 states in the Southwest. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study shows a population of famers dominated by male 76.7% and average year of education of 13.88years. Foundation stock of birds are prominently sourced from commercial hatcheries (75.8%) and reared under intensive management system (87.8%). Majority of the farmers (46.7%) are into rearing of layers, broilers and cockerels with an average stock size of 449, 157 and 158 birds respectively. Birds are fed twice daily (74.8%) on compounded ration by 95.4% of the farmers. Major production constraints are high feed cost (32.1%), shortage of capital (30.0%) and poor access to market (25.4%). However, 96.7% of the farmers considered the enterprise profitable.

나이지리아 남서주의 시장지향형 소농들의 양계생산체계와 제약요소

아데시나 A. O. K, 사카 J. O, 오예바미 A, 오몰레 A. J, 조 경래*
나이지리아 오바페미 아욜로요 대학교 농업연구소,


    Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative


    Achieving sustainable growth in the economy has being a major challenge in the Nigerian quest for development. In recent times, emphasis has being on the pursuant of a private sector-led growth in the economy, In this regards, attention has shifted to key sectors of the economy (outside oil) with potential for greater private sector participation. Agriculture has severally been identified for such attention by different development planners and regimes in recent times. This is not unconnected to its attribute as the sector with the largest number of private stakeholders across the value chains and its historical contribution to the economy. The sector is also seen as having enormous potential in the diversification of the country’s revenue base and the creation of sustainable platform for employment generation, poverty alleviation and industrial growth through the strengthening of the small and medium scale enterprises.

    Consequently, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, an initiative of the Federal Government is targeted at achieving hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that drives income growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food (FMA&RD, 2011).Attaining these goals requires adequate attention to the diverse sub-sectors of the agricultural sector.

    The livestock sub-sector has over the years exhibited increasing potential in accelerating achievement of nutritional security, food self-sufficiency, improved income and quality of rural life in Nigeria (Okumadewa 1999, Diao et al., 2009), In the livestock industry, Aromolaran et al. (2013) considers the development of the poultry industry as the fastest means of bridging the protein deficiency gap prevailing in most of the developing countries. In Nigeria, the poultry sub-sector of the livestock industry has exhibited tremendous growth in recent years. Diao et al. (2009) put the growth rate of the sub sector at 5.9percent per year from 2000 and 2005 until the growth was truncated by the incidence of HPAI in 2006. Earlier estimates (Ojo, 2003) shows that the Contribution of poultry production (meat and eggs) to total livestock output increased from 26% in 1995 to 27% in 1999 with an increase in egg production alone accounting for about 13% during the period.

    In poultry production, smallholder poultry production represents one of the few opportunities for saving, investment and security against risks. It accounts for approximately 90% of total poultry production (Branckaert 1999).These categories of farms include those established as backyard poultry farms, neighborhood farms in urban and peri-urban communities particularly in the southern part of the country. The increasing number of the smallholder poultry farms presents enormous potential that can be explored for rapid growth of the sector if provided with the appropriate and adequate level of support. The appropriateness of such support however depends on best understanding of the prevailing production environment. Such searchlight would bring to view the status of technology use in production and the associated challenges, the constraints militating against increased productivity as well as inherent potentials awaiting exploration. This study therefore examined the status of smallholder chicken production in Southwestern Nigeria with a view of appraising the production systems, stock composition, constraints and farmers perception on the profitability of the entreprise.


    The study was carried out in the Southwestern agro-ecological zone on Nigeria. The zones represent a geographical area spreading between Latitude 6°N and 4°S and Longitude 4°W and 6°E. It has a land area of 114,271km2 representing 12% of the country’s land mass and comprises of 6 States namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States. FMA&NR (1997) described the zone as characterized by a typically equatorial climate with distinct dry and wet seasons with the main growing season lasting up to 9 months with two peaks in July and September. Rainfall ranges between 2600mm in the coastal areas of Lagos and Ogun States to nearly 1200mm in the northern areas of Ondo, Oyo and Osun States. Average rainfall is 1480mm with a mean monthly temperature range of 18°- 24°C during the raining season and 30°-35°C during the dry season. The zone also has four distinct sub-ecologies comprising of swamp mangrove forest, moist and dry lowland forest, woodland forest and savanna mosaic and the soil has low to medium productivity potential. Major food crops grown include cassava, maize, yam, cowpea, sorghum, millet, while the tree crops include cocoa, coffee, kolanut, oil palm, and cashew. The region is also noted for production of livestock species including goat, sheep, cattle, pig and poultry. The zones has the largest concentration of commercial poultry farms largely dominated by chicken raised for both meat and egg.

    Data were collected through a farm survey of 250 smallholder chicken farmers selected from 5 out of the 6 states that make up the Southwest agro-ecological zones namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, and Oyo by multi-stage sampling technique. Smallholder farmers were categorized as farmers with stock size of 20 – 1,000 birds on their farm. The categorization was based on information obtained during the pre-survey meeting with poultry farmers and extension agents in the selected areas. The information essentially considered the cost of feeding birds in determining the size of birds that households would ordinarily keep for household food security and commercial purposes. Consequently a threshold of 20 -1,000 birds was established as the lower and upper limit for smallholder farmers. Subsequently, (50) farmers classified under these categories were purposively selected in each of the state for interview with the support of the Extension and Livestock Department of the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs) of the respective states. Two zones prominent for poultry (chicken production) were selected in each of the state with 25 farmers selected in each zone randomly from the list of smallholder chicken farmers obtained from the ADP Office in each of the states. However, 240 of the questionnaires certified as containing adequate information were used for the analysis.

    Data were collected through personal interview conducted with the aid of questionnaires. Data were collected on the demographic characteristics of the farmers with a view of describing the population of smallholder chicken farmers in the region. Information were also collected on production practices adopted by farmers, type of breeds of chicken reared and sources of stock, stock size and composition, management and housing systems adopted, feed and feeding among others. Data were analyzed using descriptive analysis such as frequency distribution, mean and percentages. Owing to the inability of the survey to get reliable cost estimates of production practices from the farmers due to poor record keeping, farmers’ perception was used to assess the profitability of the entreprise.


    Demographic characteristics of Chicken Farmers

    The distribution of chicken farmers in the Southwest Agro-ecological zone is shown in Table 1. The results showed that the chicken enterprise of the poultry sub-sector is dominated by male farmers across the locations with participation level of 76.7% while female farmers constitute 23.3%. This pattern was similar across the states with the exception of Ondo State where female farmers constituted as much as 42% of the population of chicken farmers. The distribution of the farmers by their age group shows that 34.2% and 53.3% of the farmers are between the age group of 21-40years and 41-60 years categories respectively while 12.5% are above 60years of age. Generally, average age of the farmers was 46.47 years although there were significant (P<0.05) differences in the average age of the farmers across the states.

    Average years of education was 13.88 thereby indicating a population of literate farmers as ordinarily, a farmer that spends up to 13years pursing formal education is expected to have attended tertiary institutions. Majority of the farmers (96.7%) were married, while 80.0% of the farmers engage in farming as their major source of income. Other prominent main sources of income include paid jobs (16.7%) as civil servants, teachers and medical practitioners while 1.3% and 2.1% of the farmers are artisans and traders respectively. The distribution also shows that majority of the farmers (68.3%) have been involved in chicken production for more than 5years with the average years of experience as 10.7years. There was no significant difference in the years of experience across states. In addition, majority of the farmers (85%) have attended training in chicken production organized commonly by different categories of stakeholders such as ADPs (54.2%), input providers (20.4%), Farmers associations (4.6%), bigger commercial farms (4.6%), and Research Institutes (4.6%) among others. Majority of the farmers (57%) had this training not more than 5 years ago thereby indicating the potential of the trainings in accommodating current trends and challenges in the enterprise.

    The results depicted a population of poultry farmers not only dependent on farming as their main source of income but have also being in the enterprise for more than 5yeas. This allows for greater commitment in terms of time and material resources in addition to availability of capacity to handle challenging situations capable of limiting productivity based on long years of experience. This capacity is further enhanced by high literacy level and prominence of capacity building through training in chicken productions among the farmers.

    Nature of Farms

    The attribute of chicken farms in Table 2 shows a fairly even distribution of location of chicken farms between urban centres and peri-urban communities. The results in Table 2 shows that 47.1% of the farmers located their chicken farmers in urban centres, 52.9% located their farms in peri-urban communities while none of the farms was located in rural areas. The table also shows that farmland for chicken production are prominently acquired through purchase (51.6%) while 33% rented their farmland. Acquisition through inheritance was 15.4%. These farms are however established either as backyard farm (47.1) or in another location outside the resident of the farmers (52.9%). The farms are mainly established for the rearing of chicken and in some instances in combination with the other birds as shown in Table 2. Chicken was reared solely by 51.7% of the farmers while 33.3% of the farmers reared chicken with turkey.

    In Southwest Nigeria, poultry business is a prominent feature of urban agriculture, with increasing population and encroachment into agricultural areas for provision of infrastructure and housing needs of the population, farmers are being pushed towards the peri-urban communities to establish farms (especially livestock farms). In addition to this, location of these farms in the urban and peri-urban communities afforded the farmers the opportunity to be closer to the market for their products (egg and meat). In these communities however, land is very scarce, hence farmers willing to establish livestock farm would need to rent or purchase such land.

    Type of Chicken Reared and Source of Foundation Stock

    The results in Table 3 shows that majority of the farmers (46.7%) reared layers, broilers and cockerel together on their farm. Similarly, 35.8% of the farmers combined chicken with other species of birds on their farm such as broiler/cockerel (10.8%), layers/broiler (17, 9%) and layers/ cockerels (7.1%) respectively. However, 12.1%, 2.5% and 2.9% rear layers, broilers and cockerel solely on their farm respectively. These results showed that smallholder chicken farmers diversified their production towards satisfying demand for different products. Traditionally, the production of broilers and cockerel are usually targeted at upsurge in demand accompany religious festivities while layers are reared to produce eggs for the day-to-day demand.

    The results in the table also showed that foundation stock of birds are prominently sourced from commercial hatcheries (75.8%) while 16.7% and 12.1% of the farmers’ source foundation stock from commercial farms and Research Institutes respectively. Supply of foundation stock also featured among the categories of support rendered by farmer associations (3.3%) and ADP (4.6%) respectively.

    In poultry production, the quality of foundation stock is to a great extent, influenced by the source of foundation stock. The reliability of the sources as regards keeping with standard guidelines has direct bearing on the performance of stocks procured from them. The fact that majority of the farmers sourced their stocks from registered commercial hatcheries is a pointer to the level of attention given to procurement of quality stock of birds by chicken farmers. This is expected to enhance the productivity of the enterprise.

    Prominent breeds of layer birds reared by the farmers are Isa brown (19.2%), Hacko black (16.3%), Hacko brown (13.8%). Other breeds less prominently reared by the farmers include Black Nera, Anak Brown/black, Doc brown, Dominant black and yaffa black/brown. However, a greater percentage of the farmers (44.2%) were not able to give the name of the breeds of layer birds reared on their farm (Table 3). Similarly, the names of breeds of birds reared as broilers were not known by the farmers.

    Marketing Channels

    The distribution of farmers by marketing channels for different products from chicken farms shows that eggs are mainly sold by farmers at the farm gate (42.9%) and local markets (27.1%). Similar pattern was recorded across the states for the product. Eggs are usually sold at the farmgates to egg dealers to minimize losses due to breakage considering the fragile nature of the product. However, spent layers are mainly sold at local markets (14.2%) and farm gate (12.5%) while cockerels are also sold mainly at local markets (11.7%) and farm gate (8.8%). Cockerels are sold mainly at local markets (19.6%), and 11. Broilers are also sold at farmgates (21.7%) and local markets (19.6%). Generally, smallholder chicken farmers have limited access to restaurants and hotels for the sales of their products as shown in Table 4.

    Average market price for egg was ₦628.83/crate while the average price for spent layers was ₦952.50 each. Spent layers attracted higher market price in Ekiti State (₦1,232.81) than other states. Average price for broilers and cockerel were ₦1,943.10 and ₦1,080.26 respectively as shown in Table 5.

    Constraints in Chicken Production

    Major limiting constraints in chicken production as identified by farmers (Table 6) include high cost of feed (32.1%), shortage of capital (30.0%), poor access to market for chicken products (25.4%) and the threat of soldier ants on farms (14.2%) in order of prominence. Other constraints include incidence of diseases (11.3%), threat of predators (10.0%), heat stress (5.8%), high cost of drugs (5.0), pilfering (4.6%) and mortality (2.1%), although, the relative prominence of these constraints differ across states. Poor market access, shortage of capital and high feed cost are the three most prominent costs across the states except for Ekiti state where threat of soldier ants and predators are more prominent. These findings are in concordance with previous studies (Apantaku, 2006; Akanni, 2007; Olaniyi et al., 2008; Adeyemo and Onikoyi, 2012) which shows that these categories of farmers are largely constrained by limited fund and its attendant low level of adoption of improved technologies, productivity enhancing production practices and poor access to market, among others.

    Perception of the Farmers on Profitability

    The assessment of the profitability of the chicken enterprise by the perception of the farmers (Table 7) shows that majority of the famers (96.7%) are of the opinion that the enterprise is profitable. This opinion was unanimously held by farmers in Lagos and Ogun State. However, 3.3% of the farmers perceived that the enterprise is not profitable. This suggests that the entreprise is attractive to greater investment despite the identified constrains.


    Smallholder chicken production in Nigeria is characterized by a population of literate farmers and majority of them have spent more than 5years in the enterprise. Their literacy level and wide participation in different capacity building programme in chicken productions points to the importance of research and extension in boosting managerial capacity of the farmers for enhanced productivity and sustained growth of the enterprise. The farmers were also observed to have responded substantially to initiatives that have promoted group participation for enhanced access to production incentives under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government. However, the population of the farmers largely relied on informal sources of capital for investment in chicken production. Such sources could only guaranteed minimal volume of capital.

    The low level of investment is evident in the condition of the housing of some of the farms visited especially among farmers who operated their chicken enterprise as backyard farms. However, the impact of their access to technical information, training and development of the industry was exhibited in the wide reliance on registered commercial hatcheries for quality foundation stock, use of compounded feeds. The challenge of marketing is evident in sales of chicken products at farm gates thereby showing inability of the farmers to access market opportunities available in hotels and eateries. Expectedly, high cost of feed, inadequate capital and poor access to market were the major constraints faced by the smallholder farmers in chicken production. Despite these constraints, the chicken enterprise is perceived profitable by majority of the farmers thereby suggesting the attractiveness of the entreprise for greater investment. This could however be promoted through linkage with appropriate credit sources by capitalizing on the prominence of group participation among the farmers. This can as well facilitate greater capacity building for improved entrepreneurial capabilities of the farmers.

    적 요

    이 연구는 한-아프리카농식품기술협력협의체(KAFACI)의 아 프리카 소규모 양계 단지 조성 사업의 기초조사로 수행된 것 으로 나이지리아 남서지방의 양계 생산 및 기술현황 조사를 목적으로 한다. 자료는 남서주 5개주 240 농가에서 조사하였 으며 기술통계를 이용해 분석하였다.

    조사결과 농장주는 76.7%가 남자였으며 교육수준은 평균 13 년이었다. 병아리의 75.8%가 상업용 부화장에서 입식 되었으 며 87.8%가 양계장에서 사육되고 있었다. 46.7%의 농가가 산 란계를 하며, 평균 사육규모는 산란계 449수, 육계 157수, 수 탉 158수이었으며 74.8%가 하루 2회 사료를 주고 있었다.

    주요 생산 제약요소는 사료비(32.1%), 자금부족(30.0%), 판 매(25.4%) 등이었으나 96.7%의 농가는 수익성이 있는 사업으 로 인식하고 있었다.


    The authors wish to acknowledge the fund provided by Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI), Republic of Korea for the execution of this project and permission to publish the results.



    Socio-economic Characteristics of Chicken Farmers by States

    Values in parentheses are percentages.
    ***Significant at P<0.01

    Distribution of Farmers by Attributes of Chicken Farm

    *Values in parentheses are percentages.

    Type of Birds Stocked and Sources of Foundation Stock

    *Values in parentheses are percentages.

    Marketing Channels for Chicken Products

    Market Price of different Chicken Products

    Limiting Constraints in Chicken Production across Nigeria Southwest States

    Values in parentheses are percentages

    Distribution of the Farmers by the Perception on Profitability of Chicken Production


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