Last month the Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team 5 (ADT 5) recently evaluated the Hikmat Feed Factory, a family owned business in Kandahar City, as part of its mission to assist in the agricultural development in the province of Kandahar.
During the evaluation, the development team evaluated the feed factory for the quantity of feed being produced, quality of the feed ingredients and proper ration formulation, product pricing and marketability.
ADT 5 agriculture chief, Maj. James Hatfield said "There is a lot of opportunity here," he continued, "Mr. Hikmat has an impressive amount of knowledge and creates a valuable product. We need to leverage our connections to farmers to create a link between quality feed and animal health. This link will help increase livestock health and the demand for feed. My hope is that this will also create a demand for more produce sold, to create more feed, thus creating a sustainable cycle between feed factories, producers, and livestock traders."
During it's evaluation, the ADT team discovered a well managed feed mill with a knowledgeable nutritionist. The small factory specialises in the production of poultry feeds and produces a pelletised chick starter, layer mash, finishing feed and breeder feed.
The average cost of their feed is $19 per 100lbs of feed which is 17% lower than the imported feeds (from Pakistan) which currently dominate the market. The small provincial feed mill also produces feed for ruminants, sheep, cattle and goat feed which is a non-pelletized blend that sells for $15 per 100lb bag.
The feeds are a blend of 20 input ingredients that are sourced from local traders and industry by-products. The ingredients include: corn, wheat, rice millings, rice hulls, waste raisins and figs, chick pea, dried sesame cake, peanut hulls, dried bread and macaroni waste, cotton seed cake and bone meal.
The feed mill has .05% of the poultry market nationally and close to 100% of the ruminant feed market in Kandahar city. The owner, Mr Hikmat stated that they still aim to at least double their current production output. He stated that they want to move their feed out into the other regions in the country. This is where ADT 5 are trying to help both the suppliers and farmers come together in order to achieve wins for both parties.
Following the interview, the ADT created an action plan with the main objective of broadening the customer base for the feed mill, while at the same time introducing animal nutrition concepts to Afghan para-vets, Extension agents and eventually to livestock producers.
As part of its action plans, the ADT 5 aims to select producers who will participate in a lamb-feeding demonstration starting in April of this year and will continue through to early October. The feeder lambs are selected based on frame size; and will be vaccinated, dewormed and treated for external parasites by the Afghan para-vets trained by ADT 4 and mentored by the current team.
The lambs will be placed on a daily feed ration which includes wheat straw as a forage source. Each lamb will be weighed periodically during the feeding period and will be compared to lambs managed in the conventional method. During the feeding process Kandahar city based butchers and individuals will be solicited and invited to view the lambs while being fed, thus cultivating a direct market scenario that hopefully will continue and develop into an annual event. The October marketing is directed toward a major religious holiday Eid-al-Adha.
As a result of this effort producers will be educated on prescribed feeding programs that can be used to take advantage of market demand for lamb. The economic data for this enterprise will be compiled, assessed and shared with Afghan educators, leaders and producers.
"It is refreshing to see a home grown, home educated entrepreneur creating forward and backward linkages in the local economy," said Victoria Burke, member of the Civilian Expitionary Workforce with ADT 5. "And if he increases his business, so will these linkages, which is a good thing."
The ADT mission includes the rebuilding of the Afghan economy by way of assisting with agricultural development within Kandahar Province. In addition to agriculture activities, ADT 5 also aims to create programs to improve the incomes of Afghan farmers.
The ADT team is made up of Airmen, Soldiers and civilian agricultural specialists with a variety of skills and backgrounds in agriculture matters.