South African Intern Plans to Produce Broilers in the Zulu Heartland
Nkosinathi Zuzumuzi Buthelezi has big plans for a farming career in South Africa when he completes his World Poultry Foundation-funded farm internship at Rose Acre Farms in Indiana at the end of the year. He has his sights set on setting up a broiler operation in his home town of Nongoma in the heart of Zululand. “There aren’t any commercial poultry farms in Nongoma. It’s a good opportunity,” he says. “Land is plentiful, but a challenge will be the water supply,” he added.
Nkosinathi sees the best business opportunity in the broiler business: “Layers need intense management, lots of capital. You have a much longer wait with layers – six weeks – until your return. That’s a lot of feed,” he opines. “I like that you can slaughter broilers at six weeks.” He’s not targeting the live market; he hopes to sell his broilers to the local supermarkets, building up from 250 birds/week, and eventually sell his own brand.
Nkosinathi earned a diploma in Animal Production at Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban after attending an agricultural secondary school. He’s grateful to his late older sister, the first in the family to attend university, for encouraging their father to send last-borne Nkosinathi to board at the school.
He recognizes he needs to catch up in developing his business skills, “My university course didn’t include business studies.” So he plans to pursue a B.Tech degree in Agricultural Management in a distance program offered by UNISA (the University of South Africa) when he returns home. Nkosinathi is also an avid reader. In his spare time, he is devouring books on personal finance like Rich Dad Poor Dad and Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover.
Nkosinathi’s early dream was to become an agricultural extension officer. Despite his switch to business, he remains committed to skills development in his community. “I want to inspire people in Nongoma to stay there and make a good life for themselves, not head off to Johannesburg or Durban when they finish school.” He’s pleased and proud that the elders at home occasionally come to him for advice about their animals. He thinks things are changing and he can become an influencer in his community.
In the meantime, Zuzumuzi is enjoying work and life in Indiana, especially canoeing excursions with his workmates and the Rose Acre Farms complex manager. He’s also gob smacked by Indiana’s weather, from the shocking snow and cold of the winter when he arrived at the height of South Africa’s summer, to summer light well past 9 pm these days. “After that winter, I never thought summer would happen!”
The South African interns participate on a J-1 visa exchange visitor program sponsored by the WISE Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dyersburg, Tennessee
Ms. Frances Chisholm
Friend & Supporter of the WPF
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