She abandoned nursing to rear poultry
Posted Wednesday, January 30 2013 at 00:00
Mariam Tumushabe graduated as a midwife, looked for a job but failed to get one near home so she ended up doing poultry farming, now she earns Shs2m per week. She shared her story with .
Mariam Tumushabe graduated in 1999 with a diploma in midwifery and was posted to Nakasongola District. She reported for work but did not take up the job because it was far from home and her husband had gone to Germany for his PhD studies.
Besides, she had to look after the children who were attending school in Gayaza and needed her attention.“I had to choose between the family obligations of bringing up my children, and earning a living,” she says. So, she opened up drug shop in Gayaza zone in Nangabo Sub-county, Wakiso District.
Eventually, she ended up going to Germany and stayed with her husband for two years. When she came back, she enrolled and studied for a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology and graduated in 2009. Again, she could not get employed and decided to be a housewife and look after the family.
In 2010, she attended a one-week course conducted by Enterprise Uganda on how one can start his or her own business and how to manage it. Determined to practice what she had learned, she asked her husband for start-up capital, which he initially denied her.
“When I told him that I was going to rear chicken, he at first refused because I did not have any experience in chicken rearing, but I convinced him and he gave me the money,” she says. She started with 350 layers worth about Shs3m in 2011.
As her husband had predicted, she lost some birds because of inexperience but she did not give up. “I lost 100 birds due to poor care, feeding was irregular and egg production was at its lowest but I never gave up,” she says.
Target and ambition
Using the proceeds from the first batch, she increased the birds to 500 where she got 90 per cent return on egg production. This encouraged her and she increased the number to 1,300 birds. However, she almost hit a snug because the country was hit with shortage of feeds and production dropped again.
“The prices of feeds soared and what was on the market was adulterated and I lost 300 birds and what remained got stunted,” she says.
Currently, she has 2,000 birds and by the end of this year she wants to reach a target of 10,000 birds. Ultimately, she wants to own as many as 50,000 birds to realise her ambition of being among the top poultry farmers in the country.
“I would want to be among top earners in poultry farmers in the country and hope to be there in five years’ time,” she says. But Tumushabe is faced with a challenge of land to accommodate the growing numbers because she is still doing it as backyard farming at her home in Gayaza.
The eggs from her birds earn her Shs4.5m bi-weekly, or averagely Shs2m a week.
Tumushabe says lack of quality feeds on the market has affected production of eggs and as a result she has resorted to producing her own feeds. “Most of the feeds on the market are adulterated, which affects production of eggs and the birds health.”
Intermittent water supply, inconsistent supply of day-old chicks, lack of good service providers, poor quality drugs and diseases are some of the major constraints. Last year, she lost 200 birds to New Castle disease yet the suppliers had assured her the birds had been vaccinated.
To overcome the problem of poor feeds, she has ventured into feeds production. She is making her own feeds but would also want to supply to other farmers.
Advice to poultry farmers
Agribusiness pays but it needs patience as there is no shortcut to getting rich quickly is her advice to others who would like to go into the farming business.