Beginners Guide: How to Start Chicken Processing Business in Nigeria

Pictures of "fried chicken" at Chicken HOF & Soju, TST. 20SEP12 (Photo by Warton Li/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

Poultry production is big business throughout the world. It is also a highly competitive industry and feed suppliers, producers, processors and manufacturers of equipment have all appreciated the economies of scale and gone on to develop bigger and more automated systems of operation than ever before to supply an insatiable market. It’s a value addition process which produce ready-made chicken for the kitchen.

Following the ban on the importation of poultry products by the Federal Government of Nigeria as policy measures to revive the economy and encourage the local poultry farmers, there has been an increase in the number of poultry processing plants in the country. However due to inadequate processed facilities to meet the local demand, the price of processed chicken increased by over 75% and has since opened up investment opportunities in the value chain.

Industry experts indicate that about 90% of broiler production are slaughtered, processed and sold as frozen chicken, while the rest is sold live in the open market and slaughtered in various homes. About 50% of the broiler produced are processed in automated slaughtering plants and stored in cold rooms before distribution and sale.

The Factory

The first stage of building a poultry processing plant is planning and this requires collection of information regarding the exact nature of the project in terms of numbers of slaughtered stock to be processed, management system required, costs of materials, services and labour, attitudes of the local population, markets to be served, type of product to be prepared, methods of waste disposal, availability of building materials, equipment and spare parts, specialised labour requirements etc.

The site for a poultry processing plant should be chosen with care. Primarily, consideration should be given to the provision of services like water, electricity and labour to manage, operate and maintain the plant. The site should also have good vehicle access.

The space requirements of the poultry processing plant are important and ample areas should be available for parking, turning, waste disposal systems, and ancillary buildings etc. As a general rule, the buildings should occupy about 20% of the total ground area. An eye should be given to future expansion of the building and its facilities.

The objective of a centralized poultry processing plant of any scale of operation is to produce material at a price which customers can afford, which is hygienic, wholesome, attractive and marketable of consistent appearance and quality, and with a realistic shelf life. Poultry processing consists of five easily defined unit operations:

1. Slaughtering:

The birds are hanged on an overhead shackle where they are stunned by a low voltage system before placing in the bleeding cones. Birds are allowed to bleed for 1 to 2 minutes before dressing starts.

2. Scalding and De-feathering:

After bleeding, the birds are placed in scalding machine. With a cage and drawn through the scald water. Which automatically agitates the carcass in the water. It helps to soften the feather. After scalding the carcasses are removed and plucked.

3. Eviscerating:

The carcasses arrive at the evisceration room on a mobile rack. The offal is separated along with edible organs (the liver, heart and gizzard). The inedible offal is placed in the offal bin. It can either be carried out manually or fully automated using the Eviscerator.

4. Washing and Chilling:

The inside is then washed in cold chlorinated water and chilled in cooled water. Several designs of chilling equipment are in use, including: Immersion chilling, Static water chillers and Spray chillers.

5. Packaging:

Carcasses may be prepared as whole birds or cut in different sizes depending on customer requirements. This may include cutting into halves, quarters, legs, thighs, wings, breasts, drumsticks or complete deboning. The products are vacuum sealed to preserve the shelf life.

Market Potential

Poultry meat and eggs are the most consumed animal proteins unrestricted by any religion or culture in Nigeria. Nigeria presently produces about 300,000 tons of poultry meat per annum officially and 650,000 tons of eggs according to FAO. A parallel record from Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), indicates that Nigeria produces presently above 1.25million tons of egg per year. Despite, this volume, Nigeria is far from meeting her domestic demand for poultry products. In comparison, countries like Brazil produces over 13 million tons of poultry meat per year while China produces about 13.5 million tons. The poultry industry has a large capacity in Nigeria to create employment and even much more as values are added to the products. The potential in Nigeria is enormous and only the elite farmer can actually fill the gap and harness these opportunities.


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Written by NaijaRoko

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