By Olamide Tejuoso
In this exclusive interview with the Director of Operations of BIMABEL Farms, Mrs. Bimbo Bello, who works in a farm that specialises in poultry production, but focuses on using organics to raise them naturally in order to encourage healthy eating and living by the people, she spoke to FarmingFarmersFarms on a number of issues pertaining to what organic broiler farming is all about, profitability of the venture, and agriculture in general. Excerpts:
What is the concept of organic broiler farming all about? Why do we produce organic chicken; organic broiler to be specific?
Organic poultry production is a system of farming, which aims to promote poultry health using natural welfare treatments. 100% organically-produced feed ingredients are used for feeding these birds and this is what we do at BIMABEL Farms. We do not use antibiotics or any synthetic drugs. We basically want to safeguard people while also helping the environment, even as we do our own business, as farmers.
What is your customer base like? Do you sell to other states?
Although we’ve not started exporting, we have a consistent customer base numbering up to 150 and still counting. Besides, we don’t just sell to people near us, we supply Lagos, most especially. Caterers, party people, families, and even retailers (online and onsite) contact us for supplies.
Can you state some of the benefits of organic broiler production for human consumption?
Naturally, chickens, being the kind of animal they are, can’t be reared outside of antibiotics medications. However, these antibiotics have residual deposits in humans, according to research. Given the fact that we use special feeds made from natural ingredients for these chicken, in order to naturally be resistant to infections and diseases, their kind of meat is usually healthy, as compared to industrial poultry meat. Another thing is that, the taste is very different, as compared to conventional chickens. Even customers claim it is more delicious. Though the selling price is usually different, organic chicken meat has high vitamin and nutritional value, which is good for the body. For people looking for healthier and slim body, organic chicken is best for them.
What is the range of your selling price for a mature organic broiler?
Currently, depending on the size of the chicken, you can get from N7,500 to N10,000, depending on the size of the chicken.
As a woman, how has poultry production been for you?
Poultry farming, like any other production business, has been full of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It has not been bad, since I’ve been practicing actively for about eight years now. Although, poultry is very tasking for me; amidst raising your children, you have to sort farm issues and staffing, among others. And poultry tasks one; both physically, financially and mentally. As a Nigerian and a woman, I know nothing good comes easy, but you have to work hard, make sacrifices, be committed and ultimately, believe in God.
What motivated you into doing poultry?
Basically, my husband (The CEO of BIMABEL Farms) actually invited me into the business. He has been doing it for close to 20 years. At a point, the work was becoming enormous such that he needed me to come on board. It was not like I really had passion for poultry, but my husband. He was the motivation for me in the aspect of agriculture.
How would you describe your disposition to poultry farming now, from the experience garnered?
Right now, most people know me as a farmer. Poultry is now my work that even my mother-in-law calls me Iyawo Agbe (Farmer’s wife) while my customers call me Agbe Alakowe (Modern farmer). I’m a full-fledged farmer now, but I do some side businesses with it.
What future do you see in this aspect of agriculture you’re doing presently?
Well, the future is bright. An average human being does not want to die early and you find out that there’s no way you will do poultry that you won’t play with a lot of antibiotics, synthetic drugs … birds consume them a lot. You’ll find out that when you take these birds, eat them, you take in some little doses; so when you now need to take some of those antibiotics when your body needs them, it might not really work for you. Hence, we at BIMABEL, have delved into organics, as all our birds are bred organically and we do not use synthetic drugs at all. We use herbs, natural things and we have been having good results because we want people to eat healthy.
Is poultry farming a kind of legacy you would want to leave for your children? Would you want them to take after you on this path?
Of course, yes. Naturally speaking, I would. However, as a parent, I understand that I’m just as a guardian and I don’t own them; so if it is the will of God for them, fine. But, if God says He has another path for them, so be it. But naturally, I wouldn’t mind.