MANAGEMENT OF POULTRY FARMS THROUGH THE USE OF ELECTRONIC FACILITIES FOR ENHANCED FOOD SECURITY IN ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

Undergraduate

Abstract
The study was on the management of poultry farms through the use of electronic facilities for enhanced food security in Enugu State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to determine the utilization, benefits, and obstacles limiting the application of electronic facilities in the management of poultry farms. This study adopted a survey research design. The study was carried out in Enugu state, Nigeria. Population of the study was 466 representing 413 poultry farmers, and 53 extension agents in Enugu state. Data were collected using checklist and questionnaire developed by the researchers. The instruments were face validated by three experts. Cronbach alpha statistical method was used to determine the internal consistency of the questionnaire which yielded a reliability coefficient of
0.74. Administration and collection of the instruments were done by the researchers with the help of 15 research assistants. Out of the 466 instruments administered, 423 representing 370 poultry farmers and 53 extension agents
were retrieved. This represents a return rate of 91%. Data collected were analyzed using frequency and percentage to determine the extent of utilization of electronic facilities in poultry farms. Similarly, mean was used to analyze the data collected on the benefits and obstacles limiting the use of electronic facilities in farms. The study found among others that majority of the poultry farmers do not utilize electronic facilities in the management of their poultry farms. It was equally found that automation of poultry farms increases production of meat and eggs, but was
also faced by so many challenges. Key words: poultry farms, electronic facilities, food security, management

INTRODUCTION
Poultry are domesticated birds kept for meat, table egg or fertile egg production. They can be raised using extensive, semi-intensive or intensive management systems. Whichever system that is adopted, poultry rearing serves as a good subsidiary occupation that supplements the income of smallholder farm families and rural households in most developing countries (Anang, Yeboah and Agbolosu, 2013). According to the authors, greater proportion of poultry production in Nigeria is still at the subsistence level and managed by backyard poultry farmers. However, Ekunwe, Soniregun and Oyedeji (2006) noted that poultry production has assumed an important role with enormous potentials for rapid economic growth in Nigeria. This was in line with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) (2010) which reported that poultry industry in Nigeria has witnessed a great leap in the population of birds as well as poultry establishments. According to NBS, there was an upward trend in the population of birds from 158,216,684 in 2006 to 166,127,481 in 2007, representing an increase of 2.35 percent. In 2010, the figure rose to 192,313,325 or 7.72 percent compared to 2006. This signifies that Nigeria is making significant positive shift in poultry production to feed the population. The types of poultry that are commonly reared in Nigeria are chickens, ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys, pigeons, quail and more recently ostriches. Those that are of commercial or economic importance are the fowls, guinea fowls, and turkeys, amongst which fowls predominate (Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, 2006a).
Poultry farming is an important agribusiness enterprise that has a great potential for providing additional income to farming communities and educated unemployed persons. In addition to its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provision of employment opportunities, poultry production is a major source of
protein supply to the increasing population of the country (Ohajianya, Mgbada, Onu, Enyia, Ukoha, Chendo and Ibeji, 2013). Though poultry production is an important agribusiness, the authors noted that it is faced with a lot of problems. The authors outlined the problems of poultry production in Nigeria to include low capital base, ineffective management, technical inefficiency, economic inefficiency, diseases and parasites, poor housing, high cost of feeds, poor quality of feeds, poor quality day old chicks, inadequate extension and training, among others.
Some poultry businesses, both commercial and non-commercial, find it difficult to cope due to these enormous challenges in the production systems.

There are two distinct poultry production systems in Nigeria: the commercial poultry production and rural poultry production (Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, 2006a). Food and Agricultural Organisation stated
that the commercial system is capital and labour intensive and demands a high level of input and technology while rural poultry production is by convention a subsistence system which comprises stock of non-standard breeds or
mixed strains, types and ages. It is usually small-scaled, associated with household or grassroots tenure and little or no veterinary inputs.
Consequently, many people in Nigeria keep poultry as a family business enterprise. Family poultry according to Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) (2014) encompasses the wide variety of small-scale poultry production systems found in rural, urban and semi-urban areas of developing countries. It is a production system that is practised by individual families as a means of obtaining food security, income and gainful employment.
Family poultry production can be categorized as extensive scavenging, semi-intensive and small-scale intensive (FAO, 2014). The conditions and requirements of these systems and the resulting performance differ significantly, as a result of the type of genetic resource used, feeding practices, prevalence of diseases, prevention and control of diseases, the management of flocks and the interactions among these factors. The main outputs from family poultry production are food for home consumption, either in the form of poultry meat or eggs, and income from the sale of these products. Poultry raised for meat production is called broilers while the poultry for table egg production is termed layers. Layers in Nigeria are reared under free range, deep litter system or battery cage system, with battery
cage system being more prominent. Management in terms of feeding, vaccination, medication, egg collection, control of cannibalism, among others, is more efficient in battery cage system. However, this system is capital intensive and does not allow the hens to move around. Broilers are not reared in battery cage system to avoid injury of the legs.
Broilers are chickens kept for meat production. They are commonly reared in litter system. Broilers used in intensive system are of strains that have been bred to be very fast growing in order to gain weight quickly (Compassion in World Farming, 2013). Generally, poultry keeping requires enough and appropriate equipment for
proper management. Modern houses are fully automated, with fans linked to sensors to maintain the required environment (Glatz and Pym, 2006). According the authors, some commercial operators use computerized systems for the remote checking of settings in houses, and forced-air furnaces as the main method of providing heat to young chicks. The web-based application can be used to monitor the growth of chicken based on the data given (Purnomo, Somya and
Ardaneswari, 2014). Electronic feeding system is capable of dispensing more feed inside the feeding trough by sensing the feed level as the level reduces and this allows for reduced manual labour expended in the poultry farms with corresponding increase in cost benefit and high profit yield (Olaniyi, Salami, Adewumi and Ajibola, 2014).
Correct air distribution can be achieved using negative pressure ventilation system (Glatz and Pym, 2006).
According to the authors, when chicks are very young, or in colder climates, the air from the inlets should be directed towards the roof, to mix with the air there and circulate throughout the house while in older birds and in warmer temperatures, the incoming air is directed down towards the birds, and helps to keep them cool. Evaporative cooling pads can be placed in the air inlets to keep birds cool in the hot weather. According to Ramdurge and Patil (2016), temperature, humidity and ammonia concentration of surrounding environment are measured with the help
of developed node. The authors stated that water management can be maintained with the help of level measurement circuit, light detection circuit as well helps to control illumination system of poultry farms while the GSM module is provided to send current status of broiler house to farmers on mobile phones. Artificial incubation and hatching of poultry eggs using incubators where temperature, humidity, air flow and egg turning are electrically controlled to replaced natural incubation and hatching. In natural incubation and hatching of eggs according to
Boopathy, Satheesh, Muhamed and Dinesh (2014), hens sometimes break eggs, occasionally quit and get off nest, sit on a small number of eggs at a time, and can transmit diseases to the chicks. The authors noted that heavy poultry industries adopt incubators to hatch huge number of poultry eggs into chicks that can be reared to produce meat and eggs for food security.
Food security is the situation where all people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (World Food Summit 1996 in FAO, 2008a). Food security is the ability of people to secure adequate food (Toit, 2011). Food security according to De Muro and Mazziotta (2011) consists of four essential parts and include food availability, access, utilization and stability. Food availability is the presence of sufficient quantities of food at appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports (including food aid) while food access relates to the access by individuals to adequate resources for acquiring appropriate food for a nutritious diet (FAO, 2006b). Food utilization is commonly understood as the way the body makes the most of various nutrients in the food (FAO, 2008a). FAO emphasized that sufficient energy and nutrient intake by individuals is the result of good care and feeding practices, food preparation, diversity of the diets and intra-household distribution of food. Stability is the ability of a population, households, or individuals to have access to adequate food at all times (FAO, 2006b).
Therefore, stability refers to both the availability and access dimensions of food security. Availability and access of poultry meat and eggs can be promoted by the management of poultry farms through the application of electronic facilities. Computerization of operations in poultry industry ensures higher quantity and quality of poultry products.