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Headman’s poultry project flourishes

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SHAMVA — Headman Godfrey Guhwa of Guhwa Village runs a poultry project at his homestead from which his family has been drawing sustenance since 2009 after he called it a day where he worked at St Giles Rehabilitation Centre in Harare.

Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi Senior Features Writer

Guhwa said his son, who is based in Harare, initially bankrolled the project.

“When we slaughter the chickens, we sell them in the community here, but my son sells most of them in Harare,” he said.

Guhwa said the venture was very profitable, especially if it was done as a large-scale operation. He added that currently, he was working towards ensuring the project becomes sustainable as acquiring day-old chicks was difficult.

“We have just got this lot (of 100 chicks) because it is increasingly difficult to secure the chicks,” he said. There were several risks associated with the project, he admitted.

“The birds can be hit by a bout of flue even at the final stage before they go for slaughter and that translates into a major loss,” he said.

The rainy season, he said, was particularly sensitive as the chicks were more prone to attack from diseases.

He often bought 100 chicks for between $90 and $100. The total cost for rearing them to maturity, including the feeds, came to an average of $342.

The turnover, Guhwa said, was quite healthy as he could realise an average of $600 for every batch of chickens sold. They sell the chickens for amounts ranging between $6 and $7. Apart from his own project, which he runs from home, he has also teamed up with 12 other villagers for a combined poultry project, although they use Guhwa’s fowl runs a few metres from his home.

In the past, however, they experienced problems with thieves who pounced on the chickens.

“Now we have someone who guards the chickens.

“That is their sole responsibility in the project, which means they don’t do other duties like feeding or slaughtering the chickens,” he said.

Each of the four fowl runs has a capacity to hold 300 chickens, but their desire was to fill them all up so they could increase profitability. The headman said capital was the major setback as it often limited their capacity to do more. Guhwa said he had also set his eyes on piggery and had since acquired two pigs to kick-start the new enterprise, which he believed was going to be profitable, too.

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