Souleymane Maazou | July 14, 2014
Every morning, Maman Lawal jumps onto his motorbike and makes an important delivery to the local market – eggs.
Mr. Lawal inherited one hectare of land from his father on the outskirts of Niamey, Niger’s capital city. The 28-year-old poultry farmer wears a constant smile.
Mr. Lawal built a mud brick barn in the middle of his land. There is a large opening in every side of the barn to provide ventilation; troughs of food and water are placed on the white sand-covered floor. The field outside his barn is planted with millet, which Mr. Lawal grows to feed his small family − his mother, two brothers, and an uncle.
But Mr. Lawal has not always been a farmer. He thought of growing crops and raising livestock as things only for those with nothing better to do. He recalls, “I started farming and raising chickens in 2011, after I escaped the civil war in Libya.”
He started his farm with 53 chickens and 18 roosters purchased from farmers in and around Niamey. Three years later, Mr. Lawal has increased by nearly tenfold his laying flock.
Now, his farm gives him a sense of well-being and a comfortable position in local society. He earns between 30,000 and 40,000 Ouest African francs [$62-83 US] a day by selling eggs and chickens. Since his fame as a chicken farmer has increased, customers come from all over Niamey. He has no desire now to earn his living in any other way.
Mr. Lawal began by feeding his chickens millet and sorghum. Now he adds oilseed cake, peanuts, and poultry feeds he buys from the local veterinary outlet. A livestock agent vaccinates his flock against disease once a month.
Mr. Lawal wants to modernize his business by creating a company and employing other young people. He says, “I need equipment to disinfect the barn, an incubator, other breeds of chickens, and ingredients to make my own poultry feeds.”
The young farmer has inspired other young people, including Amadou Kollé. Mr. Kollé explains: “Mr. Lawal’s success with raising chickens has really fascinated me. I am going to get into [this business]. That is why, from time to time, I come to ask him for his advice.”
In order to grow his business, Mr. Lawal has applied for a loan from a local microfinance institution. Once the loan is granted, he will be able to buy the equipment he needs to increase his income and profits.