How To Start A Lucrative Meat Processing Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide

How To Start Meat Processing In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide
How To Start Meat Processing In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide | Image Source: Pixabay

The agricultural sector is not limited to just staple crops, as livestock farmers and especially meat dealers in Nigeria, Africa, and many other places around the world are also operating within the same industry.

The meat processing business is highly lucrative and continues to grow quickly as the local and international demand for processed meat is increasing daily with people, families, restaurants, and various food businesses cooking meat almost every day worldwide, especially in Nigeria.

In 2018, the total production of meat for Nigeria was 1.45 million tonnes. The entire production of meat in Nigeria increased from 406,963 tonnes in 1969 to 1.45 million tonnes in 2018, growing at an average annual rate of 2.79%. In 2017, the meat quantity for Nigeria was 198 tonnes, which generated about $236,000.

In 2007, the average meat consumption rate in Nigeria was 23 gram per person per day. Meat consumption of Nigeria increased from 21 g per person per day in 1992 to 23 g per person per day in 2007, growing at an average annual rate of 3.23%. According to government estimates, Nigeria, consumes over 360,000 tonnes of beef each year, accounting for half of all West Africa’s beef consumption. The country also has considerable livestock—nearly 20 million cattle, 40 million sheep and 60 million goats.

With the accelerated growth of meat consumption in Nigeria and its expected growth to quadruple by the year 2050, venturing into the meat processing business is a great opportunity to explore.

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What is Meat?

Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. A lot of times, it also refers to skeletal muscle, associated fat and other tissues.

Processed meat, on the other hand, is considered to be any meat that has been modified in order either to improve its taste or to extend its shelf life.


What is Meat Processing?

Meat processing is the process of adding value to fresh meat in order to improve its taste or to extend its shelf life with the exception of mechanical methods such as cutting, grinding or mixing. 

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Business Opportunities in Meat Processing

1). Source of Food: 

The Consumption of meat has many health benefits such as the provision of proteins, the supplement of nutrients, elimination of skin diseases, strengthening of the immune system, long-term energy, building and repairing of the body tissues.

It aids in the production of haemoglobin and is a rich source of protein and other essential amino acids.

2). Animal Feed: 

Meat can be processed and used to feed animals.

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Facts and Benefits of Meat 

  • The word meat comes from the Old English word mete, which referred to food in general.
  • Meat is a highly consumable food item in all parts of the world
  • The type of meat consumed varies much between different cultures and changes over time depending on factors such as tradition and the availability of animals.
  • Meat can be broadly classified as “red” or “white” depending on the concentration of myoglobin (iron- and oxygen-carrying components) in muscle fibre. 
  • Generally, the meat of adult mammals such as cows, sheep, and horses is considered red, while chicken and turkey breast meat are deemed white.
  • According to a study, diets that include meat are the most common worldwide 
  • The founders of Western philosophy disagreed about the ethics of eating meat
  • Modern agriculture employs several techniques, such as progeny testing, to speed artificial selection by breeding animals to acquire the qualities desired by meat producers rapidly
  • Vegetarians and vegans are persons who choose not to eat meat because of ethical, economic, environmental, religious or health concerns that are associated with meat production and consumption
  • Meat processing began as soon as people realized that cooking and salting prolongs the life of fresh meat

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Types of Meat

There are many different types of meat, and all have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. The most common in Nigeria are:

  1. Red meat (beef, goat meat and lamb)
  2. Poultry (chicken, turkey, duck)
  3. Pork (pig’s meat)

Processed meat products include:

  1. Bacon
  2. Ham
  3. Sausages
  4. Salami
  5. Corned beef
  6. Jerky
  7. Canned meat
  8. Meat-based sauces

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Methods of Meat Processing Include

  1. Salting
  2. Curing 
  3. Fermentation
  4. Smoking


How to Start Meat Processing In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

1). Selecting the Right Livestock:

To start a meat processing business, you need to first determine a good, healthy, and suitable livstock to use for processing. One can operate a ranch where livestock can be raised or can buy the animals from the public remote markets. 

2). Preparing the Meat:

To prepare meat prior to processing, the livestock is first slaughtered in an abattoir in a quickly and painless manner with great hygienic conditions.

First, the livestock should be rendered unconscious and unaware of pain before slaughter.

The equipment required for operating the meat preparation plant includes a meat grinder, automatic rapid patty maker, hydrator & dehydrator, meat mixer, vacuum sealer and slaughtering arrangements & chillers.

3). Processing the Meat:

After the livestock is slaughtered, it is skinned, trimmed and the different body parts are separated (evisceration is done). You will then need to sterilize the meat to kill any bacteria that may be present.

The treatment duration for sterilization depends on the bacteriological quality of the meat, and it depends on the nature of the meat where the presence of a high degree of fat in the meat will affect the sterilization process.

Other factors include slaughtering conditions and sanitary conditions after the slaughtering the animal. 

4). Packaging the Processed Meat:

Once the meat is processed, it is segmented under different categories like drumsticks, leg quarters, wings, breasts and more.

5). Preservation of Processed Meat:

The usual methods of preserving meat from bacteria and decay are refrigerating, freezing, curing, freeze-drying, and canning.

The processed meat can be transported to the market using delivery vans. Before reaching to customers, the products are again inspected for quality and safety purposes.

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Challenges Of The Meat Processing Business In Nigeria

Here are some challenges that can affect starting a meat processing business in Nigeria, Africa, or many other places around the world:

  • Pest and diseases
  • Lack of government support
  • Lack of funding for large scale production
  • Lack of a highly favourable market
  • Lack of highly equipped storage facilities 
  • Lack of efficient production mechanisms
  • Not popularly known
  • Poor funding of research activities
  • Bush burning
  • Lack of capital for large scale production
  • Lack of easy access to the international market
  • Lack of adequate widespread knowledge on how to produce high-quality products
  • Lack of funds to import international standard processing machinery
  • Thieves and criminals

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To Sum It Up

With a population of over 190 million people and a growth rate of 3-4%, Nigeria has a massive market for beef and other meat-based products.

The meat processing business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your own ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a processing business to venture into, the meat processing business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.

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What are your thoughts on how to start a meat processing business in Nigeria or Africa? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with an expertise in supply chain management, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, and agriculture. In my spare time, I'm always trying to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with tech.

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