Small-scale poultry farmers in Solwezi are downsizing numbers of chickens for rearing because of hiked feed prices, which are proving to be a huge burden.

Farmers in the district have complained of the high cost of feed and pleaded with manufacturers to be considerate of small-scale farmers so that the fledgling sector is not choked, but allowed to grow.

In an interview, Mary Mtalika of Solwezi lamented that most entrepreneurs were facing hardships in procuring feed stock, saying the cost was way above their financial capacity.

Mtalika explained during a Kansanshi Mining Plc mentorship visit conducted by Fortune World Investments (FWI) recently that 50Kg bags of feed, which were previously selling at K215, were now fetching K279 per 50Kg bag.

She said farmers were down-sizing numbers of birds for rearing to avoid producing malnourished and emaciated chickens.

“We’ve a big challenge. The prices of feed have gone up! I would love that manufacturers of feed hear our plea, as whenever we go to buy feed, we complain. I used to rear up to 250 birds, but now I can’t, it’s very expensive! I only manage to keep 100 to 150. They’re empty market stands because people have stopped rearing chickens,” Mtalika bemoaned.

Though the prices had shot up, she said live chickens were selling at between K30 and K40.

She, however, maintained K45 for her chickens, which had resulted in low sales.

Despite the low sales, she was making good profit because she was not in a hurry to sell all her birds. The business development workshop had taught her to be patient and maintain standards, which customers would associate her business with.

“Before the workshop, when birds were not selling quickly, I would reduce the price and I would make a profit of between K700 and K800 per chicken rearing, but now I make between K1,500 and K2,000,” Mtalika added.

And FWI chairman Andrew Kafuta urged Mtalika not to give up despite stiff competition.

He also advised her to settle all statutory fees for her to stand a chance to do business with the mines and other organisations.

Kafuta explained that value addition in business was important because it increased returns for entrepreneurs, adding that the interest of Kansanshi Mining Plc was to ensure that entrepreneurs succeed.

“We’re very happy that the Kansanshi Mining Plc-driven business programme is growing your business, and making you stronger, so don’t give up,” said Kafuta.

– Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.