Name: Obrian Nyathi
Company Name: Chickmart Poultry
Business Location: Hwange
Number of Employees: 1
Years in Business: 8 years
Phone Number: +263779428263, +263718866788
Tell us your name, tell us about your business and where you operating from
Obrian Nyathi: My name is Obrian Nyathi, I am into poultry business layers & birds. I am based in Hwange.
Okay what led you to start that business? Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Obrian Nyathi: I started this project when l was 21 years in 2011.I am a SHE officer by profession .It was passion driven. Most people in Hwange depend on jobs in the mines and when these mines close we are doomed. Just wanted to be my own boss.
Tell us how you got started in your poultry business, and how you raised the startup capital.
Obrian Nyathi: I started the project in 2011 with 100 broilers. l saved the money from my salary from Hwange Coal Gasification Company. Currently l have 500 layers birds.
How do you market your business? How do you find new customers? What do you do to make sure they become repeat customers?
Obrian Nyathi: I use well designed, attractive fliers with all the information on my services to schools, local companies churches etc. I sponsor tournaments to local soccer teams on Kamandama Memorial day (where the colliery company lost 427 workers) and other public holidays. Also I offer discount to clients who buy more often and large quantities.
How do you strike a balance between your job and your business? Isn’t that a challenge?
Obrian Nyathi: It’s a challenge but every challenge has a solution, I wake up every day at 5am feed the birds then go to work at 7am. I have got a 3 hour lunch time from 11am to 2pm. During this time l go home to pick some eggs and buy stockfeeds. I knock off at 5pm. After work l get into the fowl run up to 7pm, then I do my deliveries to the shops then come back to do a final check at 10pm. Every Wednesday l drive 100km to Victoria falls to supply 100crates. I will be resigning very soon when I put 2500 birds.
How did you decide to venture into the poultry business? Why poultry out of many potential businesses ideas?
Obrian Nyathi: Poultry business is capital intensive. It’s a profitable and viable business. Regardless of the economic environment, people must eat and since domestic birds are consumable, that makes it feasible. People will always buy eggs and meat. Hwange is a good location to the success and profitability of my project. I wanted to provide a solution to challenge faced by people in Hwange. As an entrepreneur you identify a problem and provide a solution to the challenge. I had to get mental preparedness on poultry first. Then I had to take the risk to venture into poultry. I believed in the power of my idea. I don’t want to be a servant for someone.
What are some of the challenges that you face in the poultry business? How do you overcome some of the challenges?
Obrian Nyathi: Diseases and other players. The most deadly diseases in poultry is IDB flu and Newcastle. Thanks to God for advanced technology, they are many vaccines now. These diseases are now not a problem. I buy my vaccines in Zambia because its near to Hwange and its agricultural sector is equipped especially on the area on how to cure sick birds. I always take sick birds to a veterinary for postmortem then the doctor will give a prescription. Vaccines are cheap in Zambia e.g 100 doses of IBD cost $.120 yet in Zimbabwe goes for $20. The more birds you do the better the business for you. If you are doing like 100 birds and another is doing 1000 birds you can’t compare your profit margins and the cost for running both may not be too different.
Another thing you have to consider is managerial acumen. I had 100 layer birds in 2015 and other players had 500 layers so l had to add my flock to 300 in 2016. These players sold a crate @$3 yet l sold at $4. I decided to use my uncle to buy many crates from these big players and resale them at $4. I made sure that I could pay 100 crates putting pressure on them not to sale to individuals, but only to supply me. This resulted in most clients coming to me since eggs were available to me at my place. They did not want to queue for cheap eggs. By doing that these big players failed to add their flock as l doubled my flock to 500 layers. I even use psychological pricing eg 99cents/7eggs.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
Obrian Nyathi: Becoming the leading eggs producer in Matebeleland-North. Being the Best Young Entrepreneur in Zimbabwe.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who want to venture into the poultry business?
Obrian Nyathi: My advice to entrepreneurs is before they do anything they have to have 3 pillars of poultry farming:
1st Mental (pursue an idea). Money can work in a environment which is good for it to operate
2nd Material preparedness (capital and other resources ).
3rd Execution. Poultry business needs hard work.
They should not put their eggs in one basket. Poultry needs serious attention and hands on. They should not be cellphone farmers but practical ones. Financial discipline on funds. They should have long term goals not short sighted.
What products do you offer, and how can our readers get in touch with you if they want your products?
Obrian Nyathi: They can call me (+263779428263, +263718866788) then we arrange. Broilers, day old chicks both (layers, roadrunners and broilers) and eggs.
Is the government supportive of the poultry sector? What can the government do to increase support of the sector?
Obrian Nyathi: Technically yes. There are Veterinary offices that are there to help farmers/entrepreneurs. Financially, I have not heard or experienced it. They should also do like command agriculture. I have been applying for a place to expand my project but it has been stories after stories. It’s sad that its partisan. A lot of people in our groups work with less than a thousand yet people who aren’t interested in poultry are given 5000 chicks and inputs all because they support the current regime. It needs to be less partisan and more meritocratic. A lot of measures have been done e.g. exemption of duty from poultry inputs e.g. incubators, fertilised eggs etc.
- Through availing land,
- Supporting startup companies with funding, though it is doing so through the SMEs Department but the process has too much red tape.
- Organise more workshops on entrepreneurship/financial literacy &project management.
- Reduce import permit fees and make the process of applying easy (as it is there is a huge shortage of day old chicks for both broilers and layers).
- Allow parent(breeding) stock of broilers and layers to be imported without charges and support farmers who want to set up units of breeding stock unlike importing fertilized eggs.
They should use stock feed companies and vertinary for recommendation on who to fund because these are people who talk to farmers daily. I need space to put 2500 by April 2019 but don’t have space. Complaining is the asset of observers, lazy and unfocused people.
What’s your advise to the the thousands of unemployed graduates in Zimbabwe who are complaining about lack of jobs?
Obrian Nyathi: They should not sit on their knowledge. They should implement what they are taught at school. We the entrepreneurs will hire them to achieve our goals. They should change how they think. There is no guarantee that all graduates will live a good life. It’s sad that some graduates did irrelevant programs. They should not be just around the varsity just to gain popularity and prestige. You go to primary school get 4 units and O level 11 As then A level 15 points, then you go to university and do Applied Mathematics for 4 years then you become a teacher, who is to blame? You do Museum and Heritage studies, how many museums do we have in our country? You do Media and Journalism and we have only ZBC in Zimbabwe. How long will it take for our country to establish another media house? They should think outside the box. Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings. Talent and hard work beats intelligence when intelligence does not work hard. When my birds are sick l always hire graduate who did Animal science and I pay him $20 for his services.
What are your last words to our readers, and advice to all entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe?
If you really love your children, get a business, not a job, because when you die your children cannot inherit your job, but they can definitely inherit your business. In fact, if you die on the job, your boss will replace you before your burial. If your family live in the company house, they will kick them out before they can say anything. So when you close from work, don’t go and watch television. Go home and think of a business idea.
The decision you will make today its either going to make your child starve or have a good living in the next 10 years. Entrepreneurship is now the game in town. Let’s take action not to hesitate; because you will die shouting “I receive in church.” The biggest you can make is your thoughts. What is your dreams and passion? Lets remove fear of the unknown. 99% of our failures come from excuses. Yes they may be legit but they will not improve your life.
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