Home / BUSINESS / I became a poultry farmer after searching two years for a job – Enterpreneur shares

I became a poultry farmer after searching two years for a job – Enterpreneur shares

In our part of the world, the responsibility of being a firstborn child becomes enormous as you grow up. There comes a time you have to be the strong one and carry the family on your shoulders.

That is the exact situation Edna, our startup of the week, found herself in. She had to ‘throw her degree away’ and take on the family poultry business after countless efforts in a fruitless job search. Read on as she narrates her story to Inspiring Start-ups.

Edna Ama Mensah, now the Chief Executive Officer of MatPat poultry farm, is the first child of three to Mr. Matthew Wicliff Mensah Senior and Mrs. Patience Aba Mensah.

She is a product of Fijai Senior High School located in the Western Region, where she studied General Science and proceeded to study BSc. Public Health education at the Catholic University College of Ghana.

After her tertiary education, Edna had the opportunity to serve at Tema General Hospital in 2014; but after national service she had to face the ordeal of searching for a job for about a year without any positive result.

In 2015, the unfortunate happened. Her father, who was the breadwinner and pillar of the family, took ill and her mother spent all her time taking care of him. So there was no one to manage the poultry farm business, and it was closed.

The mantle then fell on Edna to take it up. After all, she had been on a job hunt for more than two years without result.

“My mother used to run a poultry farm to support my father in taking care of us. She could not run the poultry farm anymore, and at last she had to close it down. I have two younger siblings who had completed Senior High School and needed to further their education. I had to stand for my family. I thought of it and made up my mind to cater for my family, to be the pillar of the family; so I decided to revive the poultry farm and run it.

“I told my parents and they didn’t discourage me. They rather supported. So I started with my little savings. My father and mother also supported with a loan. I was lucky because we already had the farmland, structures, light and some equipment,” she said.

On a usual day, you will see Edna on the farm feeding, vaccinating and generally managing it. She also delivers eggs as well as live or dressed chicken upon request.

According to Edna, the decision did not come so easy. She said it came with mocking from friends and some relatives, as they thought her place as a graduate was not in the hen-coop but in an office.

However, she persevered – and starting with just 500 layers and 200 broilers, the farm now boasts about 5,000 layers and 3,000 broilers in a year. Above all, she has created employment opportunities for others.

Uniqueness

Speaking on what makes MatPat poultry farm distinctive, she said: “My chickens are very affordable, fresh, healthy, delicious and safe as they are kept in a very hygienic environment. They are packaged in eco-friendly packages and delivered to our clients’ doorsteps at reasonable pricing through a delivery system.

“I raise chickens and produce eggs. For tourist appeal, I also have sheep and goats, ducks and local fowl, and tortoises. Organic fertiliser made from my chicken droppings is used by crop producers and flower planters. Some mushroom producers also prepare their compost bags using chicken droppings. Bridal fans and hair fascinators are made with chicken feathers. The chicken intestines are also used as dog food after the chicken has been slaughtered. Eggshells, when mashed, provide calcium to pigs,” she said.

Vision

MatPat’s objective is to become one of the premier commercial poultry farm and egg production brands – not only in Ghana but also globally.

Challenges

Having been on this entrepreneurial journey, Edna says one challenge she faces is difficulty in accessing day-old chicks.

“Most poultry farmers in Ghana purchase imported day old chicks and it comes with the risk of mortality or sick birds. Sometimes, you pay for the day-old chicks, and it’s either delayed or not delivered at all. Shortage in commercial chicken feed and medicines, as well as price increments, pose a challenge,” she elaborated.

She added that some of the obstacles include government regulations, climate change and also access to finance.

How government can support start-ups

“When I heard that the government of Ghana was about to roll out an initiative called YouStart for the youth, I was excited. Finally, young entrepreneurs and startups in Ghana are going to get financial support for their businesses. Government should also arrange training and workshops for entrepreneurs to acquire more knowledge and insights which will help them develop their skills,” she said.

Women’s economic empowerment

Edna believes empowering women is critical to the health and social development of families, communities and countries at large. This, she said, is because when women are living safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can reach their full potential; thereby contributing their skills to the workforce.

“More women working leads to faster growth in third-world economies. This is because economic empowerment for women enhances economic diversification, productivity, and reduces income equality – all of which lead to other beneficial development outcomes,” she said.

Advice for prospective entrepreneurs

“My advice for young people is not to limit themselves to white-collar or public-sector occupations. Instead of wearing suits and sitting in an office, do something for yourself when you have the resources or the opportunity. Do not think that those people out there – especially those on the field or entrepreneurs – are illiterates, no! Most entrepreneurs are well-educated individuals.

“A lot of young people start their businesses because they have heard it’s profitable or because they have seen business owners counting money or driving big cars in nice outfits. They are those who do not take the time to conduct extensive research and analysis on their businesses. And when there is a slight ‘shaking’, such young entrepreneurs close their doors. Please take your time; life is not a race, it is a journey taken one step at a time.”

Source: thebftonline.com

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