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I am Lydiah, a mother of four children aged thirteen, twelve, ten and seven years, who are all in school. The first born is going to sit for her class eight exams this year.
I hold a diploma in Analytical Chemistry from The Mombasa Polytechnic, the current Pwani University. After this course, I tried to look for employment which was in vain. So I decided that life had to continue, despite my unemployment status. I ventured into business, I started selling second-hand clothes by the road side which I did for quite some time, until one day when the store where I used to keep my luggage for the night caught fire due to unknown cause. I salvaged nothing the following day.
After sometime, I started making clothes, after training in Garment-making in a nearby college. Initially the business was good. I could make and sell, but a year later the business started depreciating, to an extent that paying the house (Business house) rent was hard for me.
The cause of this was as a result of the importation of ready-made clothes from outside countries e.g. Dubai.
Most of my customers opted to go for new (ready-made) clothes other than to buy mine. Since I was making loses, I decided to leave the business.
With the money I had, I decided to become a poultry farmer, I built a structure (house) and started on it, to date.
I deal with broiler farming, whereby, I buy the day-old chicks and bring them up to maturity. I normally sell them at the age of six weeks. Though like any other business. It also has got its own challenges.
Being delicate breeds, the mortality rate is normally high, so you need to put more through buying of drugs, though I manage to get a profit.
I thank God for this business because it has enabled me to be able to assist my husband with paying of school fees for our children, and other major needs like food and clothing. I also have an orphaned child whom I cater for and this business has really assisted me.
My current stock is two hundred chicks and I would like to expand to six hundred, so that I can be able to meet the demands of my customers and also to fetch a good profit so that I can be able to meet the form one requirements for my daughter next year.
My biggest challenge in this area is lack of finance. If I get some support, my expansion dream would come to a reality.
I love this business because it has made me to socialize with many people, e.g the chick distributors, buyers, bodaboda men among others. It has also been a mean of job creation to some, e.g the bodaboda men who carry for me the feeds, also at the time of selling, they are of great use since they help me supply to the different buyers, e.g hotels and butcheries.
On the same note, at the time of slaughter, many people get employment, both men and women. I hire people to slaughter for me then I pay them and that’s how most of them earn their living.
This business also keeps me busy. It gives me no time to think about my un-employment situation. So it keeps me free from stress. I also like business because, it encourages me to save some money after each sale. I like business because it keeps me free i.e more flexible than being employed.
My vision is to raise to a level of two thousand birds in a year so that I can stay on the market throughout the year unlike now where I have to wait for the sale of the flock before I have bring a new one. I want to be bringing a new flock after every two weeks, in order to meet my customer’s demands and also create a permanent job for some individuals.
Like any other business, this business has its own challenges. Its one that needs a lot of capital to start, since it involves dealing with living things i.e. they can die at any time.
The chicks are normally so delicate since they are day old. One has to feed, treat and keep them warm. They need a lot of vaccines right from day one. Incase of any outbreak, they must be affected. One can end up loosing up to eighty birds out of three hundred incase of acute attack. Hygiene must also be highly observed, or else they get coccidiosis which is very hard to treat.
During the cold weather, many normally die due to Pneumonia, so in order to cope with it, you have to use a lot of charcoal for provision of heat. At maturity stage, you might be lucky to sell them all at once that is when the demand is higher than the supply. You can get a customer or two who can clear the whole of your stock and pay cash. Incase of a flood, (when many farmers have ready chicken) its normally very hard to find market.
In this case, the chicken will end up over-staying hence eating excess feeds. In many cases I normally end-up selling on credit which is very dangerous. A customer can come and pick like one hundred pieces without any deposit and promise to pay you soon, which he doesn’t do, but just because you are desperate, you just have no option but to give it out.
We have another category of credit customers who pay you but, after along struggle. He/she takes your chicken and promises to pay a lump sum only to pay you in small installments. In fact through M-pesa, and he doesn’t consider the withdrawal charges. By the time he pays you all, you will have lost even three pieces of chicken. At the same time, you have to keep on calling to remind him which is a cost also.
In other cases, when the flood takes long, you have to end up selling at a reduced price, in order to cope with the competitors. Also in other cases, you and up feeding them for a longer period i.e. overstaying in order to gain more weight so as to beat your competitors.
Despite all the challenges, one gets a profit now depending on whether there was a flood or not. If the sale was good, I can end up getting a profit of twenty thousand per sale but when not so good I can go as low as even below ten thousand. This is when lets say there was an out-break before maturity and a flood during maturity.
Generally I can say that the business is profitable.
I have been having plans to expand my business but finance has been a major challenge.if i get the money i would like to use it for buying more drinkers and feeders, since i have a plan to expand my floor.the current feeders and drinkers are not enough for the little flock that i have now. in the near future i am planning to add more 100 chicks. This will will call for the expansion of the room too as a result, i will be supposed to expand my structure to accommodate the new one hundred chicks. Due to this, the current house will also need to be improved e.g. on ventilation. As the flock will enlarge, i will also need to buy more jikos to provide more heat/warmth at the initial stages since i only have one which can not be enough. The money will also assist me in buying some drugs for the new flock including saw dust.I will need an extra sack of charcoal for the same. If i get this money, it will also be easier for me to hire casual labour since i will be able to cater for it, especially when it comes to slaughtering period. I normally need people who can assist in slaughtering and transporting since most deliveries are not paid in cash.
Your support will uplift me so much and my business will grow, that means i will be able to reach more customers than before. As a result i will be able to employ more people also. To my family this will have a more positive impact because i will be able to earn more and hence support them more than before.School fees for my children will also not be so big a burden because i will be now be able to pay without much difficulty.
i will generally be a happy person.
Sep 12, 2013