Sun. Sep 20th, 2020

Supporting Farmers

From the salon to poultry farming

5 min read

Joyce Acan (L) after collecting two trays of eggs. Inset, s

Joyce Acan (L) after collecting two trays of eggs. Inset, she is in the egg store preparing for delivery. Photos by Julius Ocungi

By Julius Ocungi
Many people strive hard to travel abroad in search of better lives and well-paying jobs abroad.
Such was a dream Joyce Acan 38, a resident of Patiko Sub-county in Gulu District had which eventually came true 15 years ago when she flew out of the country to Netherlands for greener pastures.
The mother of one was passionate about hairdressing, a career she turned professional after finishing a two years’ hairdressing course in Alkmaar city where she lived.
“I was a hairdresser in Uganda and when I went to Netherlands, I maintained it,” Acan said.
She later opened a saloon in 2008 which blossomed until 2013 when she had a different calling to practise agriculture.
“I had been saving money from my hairdressing career for five years and one day I had an idea of investing the money into buying land for agriculture back home in Uganda,” Acan said.
Purchasing land for Agriculture
Acan started by buying five hectares of land in Akwii village, Patiko Sub-county, some 40 kilometres from Gulu Municipality where she would name her farm ‘Hard rock farm’.
“I first bought five hectares of land, later added another five hectares and before long I had 35 hectares of land in the same area for crop farming. I later erected a store and in 2015, I began commercial maize farming,” says Acan.
Diversifying into poultry
After incurring heavy losses from low maize yield due to drought, Acan was not discouraged but rather decided to diversify into poultry farming.
In 2016, Acan sank Shs30m from her saving into the poultry business.
She begun with construction of the chicken house which she said was very expensive.
With the chicken structure complete, Acan bought 1,000 broiler chicken which were supplied from a poultry firm in Kampala.
“I had the idea of venturing into poultry farming from Europe, market for chicken is almost ready and available every time because people love eating chicken. I thought it wise to have my own poultry farm at home,” she explains.
Unsuccessful venture
According to Acan, all has not roses for her second attempt in agriculture as she recorded high mortality rate after an outbreak of chicken disease in 2016.
“I was a bit devastated by the losses, I thought it was impossible but because I invested a lot, I was determined to continue and succeed,” she said.
After a keen study of the poultry business and advice from poultry experts, Acan opted for leghorn layer chicken for egg production. Early last year, she constructed a poultry house for her new venture.
She later bought 1,000 leghorn layer chicken from Kampala and added another 1,500 mid same year to kickstart mass egg production on the farm.
“The business proved viable because we started getting some money through sales of eggs. It however stagnated midway due to mismanagement since I was still in Netherlands forcing me to return home,” she reveals.
Acan returned in January this year for permanent settlement and monitoring of her poultry business which she says is now picking up very well.
Currently, the farm has 800 leghorn layer chicken actively laying eggs while 1,700 are still maturing. Leghorn chickens start laying eggs at six months.
Earning from poultry
According to Acan, she collects 50 trays of eggs per day adding that each tray is sold at Shs10,000. “Every day I earn Shs500,000, out of the money, 250,000 is used for chicken feeds and payment of four employees while Shs250,000 is what I save,” says Acan. Weekly she saves Shs1,750,000.
Poultry feeds
Acan said she has set up a mini processing plant at her farm where she makes and mixes feeds for the poultry.
According to Acan, they use maize brand which she grows, fish meal, calcium, premix, snail shells, and egg booster which are mixed and given to chicken as poultry feeds.
She intends to reach a target of rearing 10,000 layer chickens by the end of this year. Her dream is also to be the biggest egg supplier in Northern Uganda and to turn the farm in a model poultry farm to teach fellow farmers and students.
Why layer chicken?
According to Acan layer chicken are easy to rear and are not easily attacked by poultry diseases. She also noted that cost of treating the chicken are not expensive adding that every after two weeks, the farm spends less than Shs200,000 only.

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