By Florence Oduah :
Umuchu (Aguata LGA),
July 18, 2019 (MOI) Chairman, Eagle Farms, Umuchu, Aguata Local Government Area
(LGA), Prince Ugochukwu Okparaeke says he started his cow breeding business
with only two Igbo species of cows.
``I started cow
breeding about 18 years ago with only two 'Ehi Igbo', (local breed), a male and
a female and so far, I have bred note less than 300 cows,’’ Okparaeke said this
in an interview.
According to him, I
no longer breed only the Igbo specie of cow (Ehi Igbo) as market for it has
``Initially, we bred
more of 'Ehi Igbo' than 'Ehi Hausa' (Species from the Northern parts of the
counrty) but we cut down on the Igbo specie because our people prefer the
species from the north because of it is bigger size.
``In the past, the
Igbo culture permitted only use of 'Ehi Igbo’ (Igbo specie in cultural
ceremonies including funeral/burial rites.
``That culture no
longer exits today because people want cows with more meat; that has adversely
affected their sales among the people.’’
He noted that he currently
had three species of cows numbering 58 in his farms.
``Currently, we have
three species -- 'Ehi Igbo', Ehi Hausa' and the cross breed.
``Ehi Igbo is the
most expensive and tastes better when cooked.’’
Okparaeke said that
currently the Anambra State Government was pushing for a revival of the
breeding of 'Ehi Igbo' in the state, with many traditional rulers endorsing the
move as `progressive’.
rulers within the state and indeed the South East have resolved to revert to
local breed (Ehi Igbo) as the only acceptable specie of cows for cultural
``Many of them have
called to encourage us to breed the local specie and applauding the state
government over the move,’’ Okparaeke said.
He pointed out that
Anambra Government had expressed a desire to partner with farmers across the 21
Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state to expand the production of 'Anambra
for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba and
me have been requested by the Government to draw workable plan for the
He noted that the
'Anambra Cows' would comprise 'Ehi Igbo', Ehi Hausa' and the Cross breed but
would have more of 'Ehi Igbo'.
``The cows do not
trespass on other people's farmlands, but are confined as they graze within
``The funding for the
project will be granted to the farmers by the government and the project will
be monitored,” stressed Okparaeke.
He said he had
concluded plans to go into the breeding of dairy cows as milk production was
his original idea for venturing into farming (cows).
``This will, not only
generate more income but also create more job opportunities for the youths,
particularly the women.’’
He said his cows
yield milk but only when lactating and at smaller quantities compared to dairy
``For now, we only
get 11 litres of milk daily from the cows and only when they are lactating.
cows in the Northern parts of the country can yield as much as 18 to 25 litres
of milk daily.
``We want to get pure
diary species from Kenya and India that can yield up to 35 to 40 litres of milk
per day, even when not lactating.
``I have discussed
with foreign experts/farmers and the plans have been concluded. Milk production
is the idea behind my going into cow farming.
``Five cows can yield
a minimum of 50 litres of milk. 20 cows can yield more than a drum of milk
daily and it is sold at about N500 000.
``I will like to go
into milk production,’’ Okparaeke added.
He said the cows were
sold and could be slaughtered at their abattoir for buyers who wish, adding
that they also run cold room services.
``I retain three
veterinary doctors to cover the farm so as to ensure that my livestock stay
healthy,’’ Okparaeke said.
He noted that the
cows were ranched as his company produces feeds for the livestock adding that
palm fronds were got from the farm to add to the cow's feed.
``We produce the feed
for our livestock by ourselves as part of the Eagle Foods Processing Industry
Ltd., here in Umuchu. We do not sell the animal feeds but use them to feed our
``The idea is to cut
our cost of production and to ensure quality and profitability.’’
Apart from cow
breeding, he said he was also into pig rearing and poultry farming and that
both had been progressive.
``Currently, we have
in excess of 85,000 birds that lay eggs and not less than 20,000, yet to start
``I started my
poultry farm in 1980 with 50 birds, though 13 died leaving me with only 37. But
so far, I have recorded tremendous progress.
Okparaeke runs five
other farms apart from his Umuchu farm, three at Imo state and the other two
within the state.
He has won not less
than 37 awards locally and internationally.
The awards include
the Central Bank of Nigeria Award of Excellence as the best state farmer
(Poultry) for the year 2007.
Others are the
National Productivity Merit Award (NPOM) from the Presidency in August 2013,
and, most recently, the Best Entrepreneurial Award by the Aguata (LGA) May,