My name is Percival Ganizani Mwela, 32, Zambian and a resident of Lusaka. I am a farm manger for a company that keeps 510,000 broilers (per cycle) with a total of six cycles per year. I am also the National Broiler Chairperson for the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ).
I have a vast amount of knowledge and experience of the poultry industry. Additionally, I have extensive knowledge and skills of making poultry incubators.
I currently manufacture incubators of varying capacities the smallest of 30 to over 5,000 eggs. Most of these incubators are made from steel and galvanized iron sheets, but I also make some from recycled materials such as old deep and upright fridges and office filing cabinets.
My business idea is to start the first-ever Zambian commercial breeder farm for indigenous village chickens and sale of day-old village chicks (DOVC) to the general public (like is done for broilers and commercial layers).
This idea has two main components: one being the breeding part were local village chicken with genetic merit will be selected and bred to produce fertile hatching eggs.
The breeding flock will be confined: feed and water will be provided, nest boxes for laying will placed in the confinement, and egg collected.
The second part will be the incubation of the eggs for 21 days (18 days setting and 3 days in the hatchery).
When the chicks hatch they are vaccinated against Newcastle disease and then packaging in different-sized boxes and they will be marketed as day-old chicks to agricultural agents and direct sale to farmers.
In all hatchery operations in Zambia there is a 21-day order policy where agents order chicks 21 days prior to delivery. Therefore, all chicks hatched already have market.
This project has being on my mind for the last three years as I got to understand the poultry industry very well. A lot of people have approached me as I am a board member of the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) to find out why village chicken production has not being prioritized. After researching, results showed that there is great potential and that’s how this project was born.
It will be the first breeder farm dedicated to indigenous village chickens in Zambia if not in Africa.
This project will help develop and improve the local breeds. Zambia produced over 70mllion Broiler DOC in 2014–2015 farming season and but no records of DOVC are known as this sector is not formalized.
The project has a lot of potential, it will empower a lot of people who will start keeping these birds as a business and it will create a lot of employment.
A lot of rural households will benefit, as they will keep these birds for livelihood, food security and socio- economic purposes.
It’s imperative that rural farmers diversify their farming ventures as we have had partial droughts in the recent past due to climate change.
This project is financially viable and sustainable for many more years to come. For the last five or more years the price of the village chicken as consistently been double that of broilers on the market and this is because of high demand, short supply and change in consumer trends as more people want meat that is more organically grown.
This project has potential to diversify in future to milling feed for village chickens and also growing these birds through out-grower schemes to market weight and adding value by processing and selling to chain stores and other customers (hotels, restaurants, lodges etc).
What sets this project above the competitors (Broiler and Commercial layer) farmers, is as follows:
Village chickens (VC) are dual-purpose birds (egg and meat production), resistant to disease, require less/low startup capital, do not rely 100% on human intervention for survival, and use low-cost housing, which does not require electricity.
DOVC in future can reproduce to give the farmer more, profits.
VCs are widely preferred as they are healthy and contain less or no chemical residue (organic). Consumer trends are moving to organic food sources.
The DOVC will be sold in smaller boxes of quantities of 25, 50 and 100 to accommodate our different target markets.
Each box will contain a production manual to help farmer produce profitably. They will be hatched and distributed to agents on weekly bases, so they will be readily available.
All these factors mentioned will make more people engage and start keeping these birds.
The breeding flock will be established as follows: mature hens which are at the point of lay and those that are in lay together with cocks will be bought based on genetic merit, physical and health status of the birds.
The mating ration will be 10:1 so the initial number of hen that will be bought will be 360 hens and 36 cocks; I already have 5 cocks and 50 hens at my farm.
The total will be 410 hens and 41 cocks therefore the daily egg production at an average of 55% will be 225, the weekly setting total will be 1578 eggs. With hatchability at 85% the weekly sells of DOVC will be 1,341, with a monthly total of 5,364.
Most of the USD 5,000 grant will be used to purchase birds, feed ingredients and packing boxes for day old chicks. For the housing, nest boxes, feeders and drinkers we will use cheap but durable materials that are found in our natural environment.
Since I am already in the incubator making business, therefore incubators are defiantly out of the budget. This project will take 2–3 months to set up.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Percival Ganizani Mwela (Zambia): percivalmwela[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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