NAIROBI, KENYA: Emmanuel Nzioka works in the legal department of an insurance firm, but on the side, he’s going kuku over chicken rearing . He spoke to Caroline Njoroge about the value of taking baby steps in this business
You have a pretty organised business here…
Yes, my vision is to grow this business as much as I can. I want the next one to be four times bigger than this.
How many chicken do you have here?
I have 505 chicken. I started with 530 but 25 died along the way.
Wow! What inspired you to get into the poultry business?
I visited my friend Charles Kagwe, the director of Liki Poultry Solutions and fell in love with his large scale chicken rearing gig. After making a series of inquiries from him, I was inspired to start though gradually.
How much capital did you use to start the business?
Sh500, 000 was my startup capital. I used the cash to construct the chicken house, buy feeds, cages, pay for a veterinary to come and occasionally check on the development of the chicks when they were less than two months old. Those are some of the initial costs I incurred.
What was the source of your capital?
I took a bank loan.
Do you regret your decision now?
I have no regrets. If anything, I am happy that I took the risk. I am now reaping the rewards.
How long does it take before the chicks start laying eggs?
About six months.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
One is the cost of feed is high. We had to give away many of the first eggs because they were too small to sell. I didn’t expect that. But after that month, they started laying normal size eggs.
How many trays of eggs do you fetch in a week?
I fetch between 77 to 80 trays. Not every chicken lays an egg every day, so collections vary.
How much do you sell a tray for?
I sell a tray for Sh310.
How much does that fetch you in a month?
A net profit of between Sh40,000-50,000 a month. Apart from the direct cost of maintaining the chicken, I have two people working for me since I am employed. One stays on the farm, the other sellsthe eggs in a shop I rent in Mlolongo.
What is your main market?
Walk in customers. Right now the tray of eggs sells out right from my shop.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start this business?
Start where you are with what you have. You don’t have to rear a large number of chicks, start with 60 and then learn to plough part of the proceed back to your business. You can do something with Sh50,000 then grow from there. But if you have the resources, then just do your ground research well and invest as much as you can.
Do you think it is important to have mentors in the field?
Yes! For me, having someone I could ask questions when I got stuck helped a lot.
Do you have any parting shots?
It’s okay to start small while dreaming big.