Managing a Poultry Abattoir in South Africa
This story is one in a series from Frances Chisholm highlighting stories of lives impacted by World Poultry Foundation programs and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad. We encourage you to learn more about Ms. Chisholm and our poultry projects in South Africa.
“I learned to cut handling time from 2-3 minutes to as little as 45 seconds per bird,” exclaimed broiler farmer Bheki Matshenja about the best part of the five-day Managing a Poultry Abattoir course that he attended at the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute, supported by the World Poultry Foundation. “As a result of those practical demonstrations of handling, we’ve been able to increase throughput at my abattoir from 500 to nearly 1000 birds a day,” he beamed.
Bheki knew what standard to expect from the Abattoir Management course, as he had attended a broiler production course at KZNPI in 2017. “I didn’t mind the 4-hour drive,” said the young broiler farmer, “I knew the quality of the training would be excellent.”
With an eye on moving into poultry processing, the entrepreneurial farmer had built his first abattoir several years ago, “winging it,” as he put it, and visiting other abattoirs to learn the ropes. “I started out slaughtering fewer than 50 birds a day, then eventually got certified for 2,000,” he explained. “The KZNPI course taught me the finer details, especially about hygiene. Dissections were another highpoint,” he enthused. And in regard to the meals, “those ladies can cook,” he exclaimed!
Course classmate Ntokozo Makhanya farms on a smaller scale near Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal. Armed with a Diploma in Farm Management, he started with cycles of 50 birds during COVID lockdown then grew production to two 400-bird cycles. Ntokozo delivers his birds to re-sellers at the live market. His main challenge is a clean water supply, leaving him sometimes to fetch water on his pickup truck from the next municipality. Power outages also threaten business, “Running a brooder on gas is expensive.” But Ntokozo is undaunted.
“I know the Abattoir Management course will help my business because of the quality of the trainers and the eye-opening visit to a commercial abattoir,” he said. Since completing the course, which he described as “so lovely, so open,” he has bought the equipment for a small setup; the next step is to build the structure to house it. He is hoping for financial support from his municipality. Ntokozo plans to sell frozen chicken parts to food stands at the markets that he knows so well, but he’ll also keep selling to the live market, “I have to keep on supplying best quality chickens to my customers.”
Two ambitious South African farmers, two visions, both emboldened by KZN PI training and World Poultry Foundation support!
Ms. Frances Chisholm
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