Friday, January 7, 2011
Inside Mafi,ndi's multi-purpose路farms RECENTLY, AlhajiTafida Mafindi emerged the best farmer in the country after participating in an agric showinNasarawaState.ltisagainstthisbackdropthatOailyTrustvisitedoneofhisfarmsinAbuja. By Olayemi R.lbrahim
of food at a time but we are using the medium sizes for now:'
ITTING on an expanse of 15,000 hectares ofland in Jikwoyi, a suburb ofAbuja is one of the five fanns of FAMAG-JAL farms owned by the leading largescale fanner in Nigeria, Alhaji Tafida Mafindi. The land is host to about 1,500 cattle and over 50 staff engaged for different activities in the farm. During the about 40 min-
Since the main focus of the farm is cattle rearing, Alhaji Mafindi has invested a lot of money on the farm through maintenance and purchase of standard equipment and also employs quiet a number of staff to keep the place running. e further explained that there are two groups of cows in the farm, the roaming cows which are allowed to go out to the grass land to feed and those that are permanently kept in the barn and fed there.
utes drive to the farms in Abuja,
Mafindi said he has been into cattle rearing since his school days in
1972 and has never stopped. He is indeed ready to set the pace in the agricultural sector, and the Abuja market he proposes to build with the largest abattoir in Federal Capital Territory. Little wonder he has invested millions of naira in the farm. A bird's eye view of the farm revealed the sophisticated equipment it has such as tractors, grinders. feeders, driers and large land allocated solely to the growing ofgrasses that
The roaming ones are the ones
that produce milk and bred calves, their food is also supplemented. Mafmdi farm also houses a sick bay for the health of the cattle. The sick bay is provided so that the sick ones can be attended to.
"Our veterinary doctors are on holiday now because we don't usually have medical problem, the most important aspect of rearing is
feeding and hygienic environment. What they need is favour-
are used in feeding the cows.
A store house which could contain about five trailer loads of cereal shaft known as dusa and loads of grasses were also on ground. Both were said to be ground together and given to the cows as a source of food supplement. The grasses, according to him, are gotten from the grasses planted within the farmland or imported into the farm. .' About 8 hectares of land is allocated to the grass plantation
able and conducive atmosphere
because if they are kept in such atmosphere, they will eat little and convert high. You can see that the environment is good that is why
they are doing well," he said. According to him, farming is capital intensive and that is why Nigerians run away from it.
to reduce the cost of importation.
"The feeds are not just given to the cows but after grinding, the bailers bail them into smaller units before they are given out. This would enable us determine the quantity they take per meat;' he said.
here is also a portion of the farm that accommodates grinders and mixing machines used in grinding all the bi-products into powder for easy mixture of additional ingredients like vitamins and other sup-
/ ccording/to Mafindi, "this is where we grind and mix all their food with a bigger mixer which mixes food in high volume but with adequate power supply. [t mixes 5 tons
"Those of us who have invested .in the agricultural sector are very few because of low support from government and related agencies. I singlehandedly finance my project here without any support whatsoever from anybody or government
except for agric loan I got and it's for the proposed abattoir market:' he added. While commenting on the fertilizer subsidy for farmers in the
country, he said it's a policy on paper as it has not been started, adding that he has not received any subsidized fertilizer from the government, and that he has been buying the ones they use on the farm from the market. Alhaji Mafmdi revealed that instead of relying on fertilizer for his farm, they make use of the manure from the cow dung which are collected whenever the barn is full. "We bring our tippers, load them, dump and later spay them ahead of the following year. By next year we will be producing manure in large quantities for
sale and for use on the farm. Six out of the eight machines needed for the production are already on ground. We have consulted experts who will come and construct the machine because it is not what we can import due to its size", he necessity of water
supply was also considered. "We have six boreholes that supply water to every part of the farm:' Taps are also constructed to run into the drink路 ing troughs for the cows to drink while there are laid pipes to wet the grasses.
Daily Trust also gathered that eight hectares ofland is allocated to the grass plantation to feed the cows, and that there are different kinds of grasses planted in the farm land with a particular one that look like lemon grasses and it is said to
produce only during the dry season. The seed of the grass, accord-
ing to him cost N20,OOO but once it is planted it remain permanent to the ground while another specie remain green throughout the year. Speaking on the overall cost of maintenance in the farm monthly, the chairman said he could not ascertain the cost but added that the workers' salary is over N400,OOO monthly while feeding gulps over N500,000 but it sometimes spilled over to the following month. The allocation for the agric sector in the country's budget according to ):tim, is nothing to write home about. He said: "The Federal Govern路 ment is not conSidering agricul-
ture at all, agric alone deserves N2 trillion out of a budget estimate of N4.1 trillion, at least 50% of the budget because if we invest in
agriculture, it generates multiplier
SOME of Mafindi's roaming cows,
effect and productivity." He said ifN2triliion is allocated to civil servants it wUl generate zero effect and zero productivity. The allocation to the agricultural sector now means nothing because .t the end of the day; 60% of it may not be utilised.