Nigeria is indeed a blessed Nation, with various resources and opportunity, it is only a pity that foreigners tend to identify the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, than the citizens, many people in Nigeria today are looking for the opportunity to travel out of the country in search for greener pasture, when there is green pasture in this same country. This article will help you to identify some of the opportunities that abound in Nigeria Agric sector and how you can maximize it for your own benefits.
Grasccutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) are micro livestock which belongs Mammalia order, rodentia class and Thryonomyidae family. Some people use to think Grasscutter are the same as rat or bigger rat, this is untrue, as Grasscutter are in the same family of with Porcupine, except that, Porcupine are bigger and larger in body size. Grasscutter are lovely animals, formerly hunt for meat in West Africa, it has great protein and taste good, thus, the reason why it is hunted for meat.
Various countries in Africa consumes Grasscutter, and the farming of this micro livestock as grown to become a major Business venture in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Cotonou, Kenya and other locations across the world. If you are in Nigeria and you are complaining of no money, this is an opportunity for you, because with a good business plan, you can make more than 5million naira annually from Grasscutter Farming Business.
In Article I will be showing how to start a Grasscutter Business successfully and how to make good money from it.
Some years ago when I was interviewed on Galaxy T.V on Grasscutter Farming, the Industry was still growing then, but as at today, the grasscutter Business has become a major venture in Nigeria, the demand is very outrageous and farmers now import Grasscutter from neighboring countries to meet the ever rising demand for Grasscutter Farming in Nigeria. Annually hunters go into the wild to kill Grasscutter in order to make the meat available for bush meat delicacy, but that is not needed any more, because with the domestication, production as increase and there as been various advancement in Grasscutter Farming in Nigeria.
Getting Started with Grasscutter Farming;
Grasscutter are easy to handle, care and rear but, just like any other Business ventures, you need knowledge and idea on how to go about it, this is very important.
The Grasscutter industry comprise of 2 Markets and sectors, the meat sector and the breeders sector, these are the 2 major anchor for the Business, just like we have it in every other livestock industry, there are those that buy for consumption while others buy for breeding purpose.
For instance; if you are just starting the Business, what you need is called “Foundation Stocks” they are the first set of breeding stocks you are starting with, they are the ones that will be crossed, get pregnant and produce offspring’s for your farm growth and expansion. On the other hand, we have the Meat sector, these are the ones that buy Grasscutter solely for the sake of slaughter, to process and garnish well roasted, barbeque or grilled grasscutter meat ( Grasscutter taste is amazing, in case you don’t know).
A matured Grasscutter is sold between 3000 to 2500 per kg, for meat consumers, and grasscutter can attain between 4 to 6kg weight gain. While in the case of breeding stocks, they are sold in Colony, a colony of grasscutter weaners (2 to 3month) is between 100k to #110,000naira presently, while the fully matured ones goes for 150 to 170k per colony, a colony consist of 5 Grasscutter (4 females and one male or 3 females and 2males).
It will surprise you that people demand for very huge volume of colonies and they are willing to pay, if you take your Business seriously, you can begin to earn some good income in a short time.
To get Started with Grasscutter Farming, the first thing you need is their house, Grasscutter are raised in various ways; we have the Intensive and Semi-intensive system.
In the Intensive system, they animals are kept in a confinement, whereby their movement is restricted to their cages, they are locked and monitored in a controlled environment, this is the best way to get the most out of your grasscutter Farming endeavors, as you can ensure they are well taken care of, preserve them from predators, determine what they eat at all time and also ensure they are healthy. Each Grasscutter is kept in one room (for the matured), while the weaners can still stay together for 3months before separation.
In Semi-intensive system, the animals are kept in a room, or compound, they are all together roaming about, they can cross at any time and breed, they can move around the compound or a particular room space given to them, the issue with this kind of system is, there is a limit to the extent you can control their activities, they can also be infected easily, because their movement is not controlled.
Facts about Grasscutters;
- Grasscutter gestation period (pregnancy) is 150days (5months), so they can give birth twice in a year.
- One grasscutter can give birth to between 5 to 15 liters at the same time.
- Grasscutter are easy to feed, as majority of their food are grasses and waste, you don’t need to spend excessively on feeding like you do in Poultry.
- Grasscutter are friendly animals, they do not attack or bite you, you just need to know how to handle them well and keep their environment clean always.
- All the Farmers in Nigeria today cannot meet the ever increasing demand for grasscutter in the country.
- Grasscutters meat is rich in protein and economical compare to other popular livestocks.
- Grasscutter does not have any religious barrier or hindrance to its consumption and farming.
- Newly born Grasscutters resemble the adults, they have fur on their body, and they can also see with their eyes, they suck the mother for some few days before they start eating solid food (while they still continue sickling).
- Grasscutter loves to eat Grasses a lot and they are herbivorous, and it also help their digestive system and process and their teeth.
- The Greatest enemy of Grasscutter is Snake and Soldier ant, so you must ensure you place them in an environment that is free from such predators, so as to safeguard your investment.
- Anywhere you are, you can make millions from Grasscutter Farming as there is such an outrageous market available for them and it’s ever growing.
- Grasscutters don’t fall sick easily, especially when they are under good management, housing system, feeding and good hygiene.
- Grasscutter also feed on a lot of agricultural waste products, like PKC, Cassava peels, Corn bran, rice bran and you can also make formulated feed for them.
- Grasscutter can be weaned from their mother, 40days after birth, so that the mother can recover lost nutrients.
- Sexual maturity in Grasscutter starts from 5month, however, it is better to use a older male to cross a matured female, for excellent performance and offspring’s.
Breeding in Grasscutter
Grasscutters attain maturity at the age of 5months, but they are expected to be sexually mature at 6month, the female shows signs of heat and then, she can be taken to the male for crossing, the male should be older than the female, while getting your foundation stocks, this will help you to have a good breeding stock, and a good shooter buck for crossing the female, which makes getting pregnant much easier.
Your exploits and Success in Grasscutter farming is at the mercy of how well you can produce, reproduce, raise and manufacture new grasscuttlings (babies), because these are the ones that will bring you income on the longrun.
You will have both the breeders market and meat market coming to you for grasscutter, so you must be able to raise and breed them successfully.
While buying your foundation stocks, make sure you get from trusted farmers (you can get from me), and ensure the animals are healthy, agile and strong with their shinning fur as a symbol of good feeding, a good parent stock will always give you better offsprings on the longrun, which will bring you returning customers, when they are satisfied with what you sell.
Housing for Grasscutter
Housing play a major role in all livestock venture, just like it does with humans, your animals well-being is at the mercy of the kind of housing system you adopt, ranging from safety from predators and other forms of attack, you need to ensure their house is situated in a perfect location that suits the animals and prevent them from scorching of the Sun and Rain. Grasscutters don’t sleep where they eat, they are very neat animals and a a result of this, you must ensure their house is well ventilated and spacious enough to roam around and to enjoy. The measurement for Grasscutter cages should be 180cm in length, 60cm in width and 45cm in height. Build your cage that way, separate for each colony.
Grasscutter stays in Colony, and they love it that way, you separate them at 4month, when they are close to maturity to avoid cannibalism and other challenges that may come with maturity. Matured Grasscutters are kept one per room.
Below are some pictures of Grasscutter Cages you can use for your farm.
There are various types of cages for Grasscutters, you can make wooden cage, iron cage and concrete cages, based on your financial capacity and your desired farm setup. Please Note; while using wooden cages, that grasscutter can eat up the wood and even tear light nets like Boko haram net, they are not strong enough to handle animals like Grasscutter, so you have to consider a stronger wire mesh to use for their housing.
Feed and Feeding in Grasscutter Farming;
The ease of feeding and reduce cost is one of the major benefits of raising Grasscutter, it can become a home delicacy for you and your family, and it can also become a major Business venture that brings you regularly income in six figures, but the good thing is, you don’t have to spend much on feeding Grasscutter, as their feed is relatively cheap and free, they eat varieties of Grasses, and you can get them freely around you, I listed various grasses edible for grasscutter here. Grasscutter eats a lot of things, ranging from agro waste products, grasses, vegetables, by-product of feed processing ingredients, you can also formulate your own feed for them, If you don’t know how to do this, you can get poultry growers or broilers finisher feed for them. Giving feed to your grasscutter enhances and amplifies their growth rate; you cannot place them on Grasses only. Some people says, because their name is Grasscutter they can stay on Grass only, this is not true. If you want your grasscutter to grow well and gain good body size, then you must prove concentrated feed for them.
Grasscutter eat twice a day, in the morning and the evening, the evening session extends into the night season, so you can increase the ration of the feed you give them in the evening.
From guiness grass, elephant grass, giant star grass, spear grass, timothy grass, alfalfa, mulberry leaf, tridax, pumpkin leaf and stem, vegetables, banana leaf, pawpaw leaf, unripe pawpaw, cassava peel, yam and potato peels, PKC, BDG, Groundnut leaf, stem and hay, everything about maize is food for your grasscutter. What I do is to give them the concentrate feed in the morning and green grasses at night, while they are still left with small portion of the feed, so that can make their choice ( please note, that grasscutter loves elephant grass and ugwu leaf/stem a lot).
Planning Your Production;
When starting your farm, it is always good to start from where you are, with what you have, capacity can be built over time but you can start small, if you don’t have the financial capacity yet. But when you are ready to expand, it is always good to have more female to male ratio, for you to consider your farm a commercial scale grasscutter farm; you need between 50 to 100 females that are actively producing offsprings.
Grasscutters have a huge market right now in Nigeria, people trade and buy on a daily basis. Most of the guys that makes the most money are the ones with large production stocks, so they are able to have plenty animals on ground for sales, they get the most patronage, if you really want to do this Business; you must be ready to grow it. This will help you dominate the market and get more clients.
Even if you are selling them for slaughter at 5000naira each, and you are able to produce 500 grasscutter to the slaughter stage, 500 x 5000 = #2,500,000.
On the other hand, if you are selling to fellow breeders or beginners who need foundation stock to get started, you are selling a colony between 100 to 110,000naira. If you 10 colonies, that’s between 1million to 1.1million. This is what Grasscutter Business entails right now. There is a growing demand, you can even sell up to 50 colonies, because the awareness of the health benefit of grasscutter meat is growing and this is bringing many people into the industry, also the potential of the Industry is growing daily, and many people are coming in to the Business.
Someone may want to ask, how much does it cost to start a Grasscutter Farming Business?
I have answered the question here, follow the link to read.
Marketing your Grasscutter to Sell;
This is one of the most easiest thing to do, especially in this internet age, there are many ways to get customers even that are far away from your location to come buy what you are selling, one of such ways is to simply create a facebook page or an interface on the internet instagram, twitter, nairaland, jiji,ng and other platforms are places people go when they are in need of one thing or the other, you can simply post your request on those platforms, just to let your potential buyer knows that you have what they need. However, you only need to be consistent and be known for this Business, after a while you will not even need to advertise any more, people will be coming to buy from you directly.
Note: In the cause of your Business, you might have to waybill animals to people in far places, even in another state, you can learn how to package and waybill your Grasscutter here.
I hope you have learned one or two things from this article? There is still much more necessary information you should have as a beginner, I have written a book that can help and guide you on how to get started with Grasscutter Farming Business in Nigeria, the book is just #5000, it contain the details of what you need to know as a beginner, and how to handle them, medication, and other aspects in order to be successful, you can reach me on 07066784204, if you want to get good parent stocks for your Grasscutter farm, you can also call or chat me on my number, wishing you all the best.