From zero to successful chicken farmer…Kavango east woman narrates her poultry entrepreneurship journey
WINDHOEK - Rural women have always been the driving force of subsistence economic production as de facto head of families while men work in the south, and never really owned the means of productions they worked for.
Times are changing, with women increasingly breaking down stereotypes of what a rural woman is supposed to be in a patriarchal dominated society and antiquated subcultural believes.
Katiku Haingura is a phenomenal woman of agricultural substance, one of the main broiler breeders in the north east of Namibia who never looked back since she ventured into commercial farming six years ago.
Farming on the outskirts of Rundu about 30 km on a village called Utokota in Shambyu area, she ascribes her success to continuous learning and adherence to the principles of her agricultural trades.
“I first started to farm with cattle, goats and sheep in October 2003, before I successfully accessed an Agribank loan to acquire livestock in 2010. Overtime, as my business was growing, I used some of the profit to expand horticulture and diversify into poultry”.
She started her poultry business by buying up to 1500 chicks every second month, and then changed to every month, then every second week, then every week over a few years to stock up.
“From the onset, I wanted to know what the customer wanted. So, I explored and inquired about various breeds, broiler chickens for meat production and dual-purpose chickens bred as layers for table eggs and meat.
“When I found out that the customers are no longer keen to buy my broilers, I added dual-chicken breeds. As soon as the chickens started laying eggs, I acquired an incubator – and since then, I supply chicks as well. Customers can get one-day old or two-week-old chicks, mature layers, or a cock for those who want to change breeds.”
To maximise her market share, Haingura uses various social media platforms for digital marketing and exchanging information on poultry-related matters. “Sometimes, a message will come in from a person looking for chicks, a specific breed, a particular cock, a cockerel, or a rooster – and then we connect and supply. I have numerous customers, and my supply chain ranges from Katima Mulilo to Windhoek, and to Ondangwa and Oshakati.”
She farms with different chicken breeds, which include Brahma, Cochin, Coucou, Cornish Cross, Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds. She plans to add more varieties.
“For now, I breed pure breeds. I don’t cross them, so that we can still maintain the pure breed quality. But I’m looking at another breed called Kuroiler that I can hopefully cross.
“Kuroilers are economic, disease resistant and low-maintenance dual-purpose breed for meat and eggs, farmed mainly in Zambia and West Africa.”
She explains that she is driven to plan for unforeseen circumstances carefully in accordance with the market demand and supply trends.
“Breeding chickens is not rocket science; it is not an exclusive field for agricultural geneticists or other poultry specialists as people will try to tell you. You can learn easily to do it yourself, yeah DIY.”
The major challenge she is enduring, she said, is how to reduce the high input cost for chicken feed, a situation that has been worsened by the current unprecedented drought. “I farm on dry land, with a combination of rain-fed crops and drip irrigation, cultivating mainly maize and sunflowers to produce supplements for the poultry production because it is expensive to buy chicken feed from agricultural retailers. Sometimes, I source feed from the Green Scheme Project – which is a blessing to have around here.” So far in her poultry business, Haingura said she had not had any disease outbreak, attributing the status to strict biosecurity measures in place.
“Our biosecurity entails the inside and outside fences around all the different chicken houses since we farm in a village with other homesteads. The outside fence inhibits customers and visitors from any contact with the chickens because we do not know where they are coming from, or whether they have been in contact with sick chicken or other birds. It also keeps chickens from the neighbours at bay.”
She advocates continuous learning and the initial experience she gained from training sessions, mentorships and public lectures arranged by Agribank after she took out a loan to start commercial farming in 2014.
Haingura employs seven workers who assist her to manage cattle, goats, sheep, horticulture and poultry farm operations and maintenance.
Her future plan is to venture into the mushroom production, whereby she has already started with few women in Kavango East Region. -Agribank
2019-11-26 08:09:07 | 8 months ago