Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
A WOMEN and girl-child empowerment non-governmental organisation, Upfumi Kumadzimai-Inotho Kubomama Trust has set sights at starting an extensive indigenous poultry project as part of its income generating initiative for its members.
Upfumi Kumadzimai-Inotho Kubomama programmes co-ordinator Mrs Nonceba Mwedzi-Agwaniru said the organisation was sourcing funds to embark on a vibrant free-range chickens breeding project in the wake of its promising pilot project at Sir Humphrey Gibbs Training Centre.
“Sir Humphrey Gibbs approached us seeking that we render any form of assistance since apart from being an organisation which empowers women and the girl-child we are also into charity work. Thus we told them the only way we could help is to come up with an income generating project whereby they will realise something from the revenue obtained and as such we came up with an idea of starting an indigenous poultry project there,” said Mrs Mwedzi-Agwaniru.
Sir Humphrey Gibbs Training Centre is a Bulawayo-based learning institute for people living with mental challenges.
Upfumi Kumadzimai-Inotho Kubomama distributed 50 boschveld chickens at a point of laying and installed an incubator at the training centre three months ago.
“We gave the training centre 50 boschveld chickens that were at a point of laying and we also installed an incubator there. Prominent businessman and Nkulumane representative in the National Assembly Cde Killian Sibanda donated feed.
“The chickens have been laying eggs but we advised them to consume or sell them since the incubator needs repairs, which is one of the reasons we are looking for funding,” said Mrs Mwedzi-Agwaniru.
While almost every household in the rural areas has always kept free-range chickens for food and a few have sold a bird here and there to help raise money for use around the home, commercial free-range chicken production is a fairly new concept in most areas.
The organisation has plans to embark on a one-day indigenous chick project as well as setting up a retail outlet for the selling of the birds’ products.
“We intend to start a one-day old indigenous chick project whereby we will be selling the chicks as well as to set up a retail outlet where we will be selling indigenous chickens’ products and even coming up with packaged portions of the indigenous chickens’ meat.
“We are however, constrained from embarking on these projects due to lack of funding. We are also looking for initial funding for the purchase of the birds as well as feed. However, as for feed we intend to source land so that we can grow crops and use the produce to manufacture our own feed,” said Mwedzi-Agwaniru.
The Department of Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services Agritex (Agritex) through its arm, the Department of Livestock Production and Development has written a letter to Agribank seeking the financial institute to fund the organisation’s intended poultry project.
“The Trust is intending to empower its members through various income generating projects. Indigenous poultry project has been given the top priority by the Trust due to high demand for indigenous chickens in and around Bulawayo City.
“The necessary standard infrastructure is already in place and the Trust has managed to purchase 50 breeding hens (boschveld type) using income generated through annual membership contributions,” read part of the letter.
The letter states that the organisation needed financial support for the purchase of breeding hens and a number of equipment.
“To be viable, the project needs a minimum of 100 breeding hens which will be able to produce sufficient eggs for hatching using an incubator. The Trust needs financial support for the initial phase to purchase additional breeding hens and equipment for the project.
“With adequate funding, the project has great potential to empower women and vulnerable groups, alleviate poverty and create employment. The Department of Livestock Production and Development recommends the Trust for financial support,” said Mrs Mwedzi-Agwaniru.