KZN PI abattoir course opens eyes of emerging broiler farmer
Phumla Ntombela returned to her rural roots a few years ago, took numerous short agriculture courses, studied animal production, and became a chicken farmer. “My dad kept chickens, they always fascinated me,” she exclaims.
The young South African keeps layers but her focus is on broilers. She raises 1,000 birds per cycle, farming rent free on tribal trust land but without access to electricity or running water. The high cost of getting her birds to the closest slaughterhouse, which is not close at all, is a struggle. Yet by creating her own market without a middleman Phumla is managing to turn a profit: she sells “packages” of three slaughtered chickens, 60 eggs, and outsourced vegetables at four points of sale that she has set up and outfitted with large gas-run refrigerators from which rural buyers pick up their purchases. She also sells to the live market, but “even in the deepest rural area, people are becoming ‘urbanized’ and like to buy slaughtered birds that they know are fresh. I haven’t met 40% of demand yet,” she says.
Phumla was an obvious candidate for the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute’s (KZN PI) first Abattoir and Food Safety course in November 2020, funded by the World Poultry Foundation. Eager to learn and constantly scouring social media for training opportunities, she had previously attended the KZN PI Biosecurity course, also funded by the WPF. “It blew my mind; I saw what I was doing wrong.” She then signed up for KZN PI’s WPF-supported on-line Profitable Broilers – Advanced Course. “But it’s the abattoir course that will really change the life of villagers like me,” she exclaimed.
Phumla had never dreamed she could have her own abattoir until she learned about low-throughput units and their reasonable price at the course, though she is still daunted by the high cost of health and safety regulation compliance. Her head is swarming with ideas. She realizes she needs to re-locate her broilers and has identified a dormant poultry farm with running water and electric power to lease. She’s scoping out the possibility of operating a broiler farm there along with a low-throughput abattoir while maintaining her layers back home in the village.
In her spare time, Phumla is studying for a B.Com. degree in Entrepreneurship. No surprise there!
It sounds as if you’re on the right track, Phumla. Good luck in all your ventures!