Economics of Substituting Cashew Nut Waste for Maize in the Growth Performance of Broiler Chicken

Human needs for quality animal protein have become both a national and an international issue that demands an urgent attention as animal protein intake and economic development are inextricably linked (Morton 2006). Ojewola et al. (2004) Observed that a nation’s development is insured in the excellent physical and health condition of his people, because of all the resources required for national development, the human resources are the most important. . The increase in the demand for poultry product has led to the increase in the number of poultry farms all over Nigeria.

However, the progress made so far in the poultry sector in Nigeria and some other part of African countries is currently being undetermined by the escalating cost of feed (Ohler, 1999). The high cost of compound feeds for poultry is derived largely from: the exorbitant prices of feed ingredient; comparative increment in demand for the feed ingredients by man and animals; and scarcity of the conventional ingredients such as maize, sorghum grains, groundnut cake, soybeans meal and fish meal. (Apata and Ojo 2000).Therefore to reduce the feed cost which accounts for 60 – 70% of the total cost production in poultry. Research efforts are being geared towards evaluating alternative feed ingredients for poultry which posses’ comparative nutritive value but cheaper than the convention feedstuff (Atteh and Ologbenga, 1998). They should also be available in large quantities. One of such alternative is cashew nut meal (Aduku, 1998).Nigeria is the second largest global source of cashew nut and produces about 636.00 tones per year (Morton, 2006).Only about 60 -56% of the total cashew production in Africa is utilized while the rest had discarded. Fetuga et al, 1974). Aduku, (1998) observed that cashew nut meal has the following proximate chemical composition: Protein, 40.9% Fat 1.30%, crude fibre 1.50%, calcium 0.06%, phosphorus 1.72%, Ash 5.30% and tryptophan, 0.29%.
The response of birds on the experimental diets with respect to growth and economic indices is given in Table 2. Inclusions of cashew nut waste meal at the expense of maize significantly influenced the feed intake (P < 0.05), cost of feed/bird, cost/Kg of feed, cost of feed/Kg weight gain, selling price/bird, return on feed, total cost of production, total revenue, gross margin and profit while it does not significantly influence the weight gain (P < 0.05), final weight and  feed conversion efficiency of the birds.
The feed intake of the birds’ increases as the level of cashew nut waste meal is increased from 0% to 25% and decrease slightly as it is further increased from 25% to 37.5%.   Birds on diet 3 had the highest feed intake while the lowest was observed among birds fed with the control diet. The higher feed intake observed among birds feed with diet containing cashew nut waste might be attributed to the palatability of the feed and a relatively lower energy to protein ratio.
The findings showed the average weight of the birds fed with diets containing cashew nut waste to be higher in weight than those on maize based diet, a significant positive correlation (P < 0.05) was observed between the levels of cashew nut waste meal and the weight gain of the birds. The higher weight of the birds fed with diet containing cashew nut waste meal might be attributed to the high feed intake of the birds, and also fact that the protein and energy in cashew nut waste is relatively higher than that of maize. The quantity of protein has been reported to influence its utilization.
All the cost indices differ significantly (P < 0.05) among the experimental birds. The cost of feed per kg weight gain follows a similar trend as the cost of cost per kg of feed, both variable decreases as the level of cashew nut waste meal was increased and significant (P <0.05) negative correlation was observed between the levels of inclusion of cashew nut waste meal and the two variables. However, the total cost of feed do not follow any particular trend, with the birds on diet 2(T2) while the significantly lowest cost of feeding was observed among birds fed with diet 4(T4). The significantly lowest cost variables observed among bird fed with diet 4 might be attributed to the lower cost per Kg of cashew waste meal when compared to maize. At the time of the study the market price of maize was N65/Kg, while that of cashew nut waste was N25/Kg.   This result indicated that the inclusion of cashew waste meal reduces the cost of feed and also increases the economy of gain as birds on diet containing cashew nut waste meal requires lesser money to gain a unit weight. This result confirms the findings of Agbede et al (2008) that discarded cashew nut meal lowered the cost/Kg weight gain of birds.
The total revenue, profit, gross margin and return on feed, follow a similar trend as each tend to increase as the level of cashew nut waste meal was increased,  the highest profit and other indices mentioned above was recorded in treatment 4, followed by treatment 3, 2, and 1 which is the least. Agbede et al (2008) reported that discarded cashew nut meal would help in reducing the cost of finished feed with an attendant increase in profit margin to farmers.   Hence, the cheapest feed brings about the most economy of gains. This result is similar to those obtained by Philip (1985) and Adesehinwa et al (1977) who used cheaper feed and observed a comparable rate of production with the expensive feed. Thus, the newly introduced cashew nut waste gave the best performance.
Conclusively, cashew nut waste gave greater potential as alternative feed stuff to reduce cost of feeding in poultry enterprise. However, further study on the possibility of totally replacing maize with cashew nut waste meal and a means of preventing oxidative rancidity and loss of nutrient from the waste when stored for a long time is hereby advocated.
By Jaji, M.F.O,M.A. Onigemo and M.A. Adeyemo
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