More than one billion broilers are slaughtered per year and the average per capita consumption of chicken meat is currently more than 33kg. These figures help to explain why there are so many opportunities in the industry today. And the good news for a small- and medium-scale producer is that he/she can also profit from this burgeoning demand by starting his/her own poultry business and earn a sustainable and growing income. This is the case with poultry farmers from community x, Limpopo. Living in the deep rural comes with many disadvantages like lack of proper infrastructure, jobs, and public services, but the poultry farming project has provided members of community x with the means to make ends meet.
ActionAid South Africa (AASA) partners Xihlobo Xa Ndivho and the local school Tshifudi primary school, in Tshifudi village in Limpopo have partnered up to come with an initiative that not only benefits the school but the community as well. The poultry project was started to create jobs and skills for parents of school Tshifudi primary school and to also aid the school. When Xihlobo realized that the community they were working in was struggling to make ends meet and the school garden could not help all the community because it also needed tools and supplies to maintain it.
In the year 2000 , Xihlobo Xa Ndivho started to train 8 womxn on poultry farming and gave them 80 chicks to grow and sell. These chicks are kept at the yard of school x where the womxn grow and maintain them. When these chicks are sold by the womxn, they give a percentage of the money made to the school. With this money, the school buys supplies for their vegetable garden which also provides the community with fresh vegetables and helps keep children nourished at school. The school children are the ones who take care of the school garden.
Each year the poultry project trains 8 new womxn and offers them skills and a year contract. This is so that they can offer an opportunity to different womxn and they give them enough skills to start their own poultry farms. This project has made a huge difference in these families lives and to the school, on a monthly basis, these womxn make 2 thousand to 5 thousand rands depending on how they things go in that particular month.
The criteria for this project is that you must be a parent of a child in that school. This has disadvantaged some people within the community, the other challenges are that parents must volunteer first before they get chosen for the project. Their other challenge is the chicken coop which is falling apart and not up to standard. When we talked to the H.O.D of the school Mr. T.A Mantsha about the project and his aspirations for it, this is what he had to say. “I would love for the project to increase the number of chickens so that we can deploy more parents and help more families. With more chickens the project will generate more income and both the womxn, and the school would benefit, if the chicks are a success then the project can help feed more kids.”
We spoke to one of the moms who is working on the project about the importance of the project to both the school and the community, and how her life has been since she joined the project. With a huge smile on her face, Tshilidzi Ramarumo held her son closer and she started saying. “This chicken farming project has played a very big role in our community; our garden is now growing well, and our kids have meals at school. Even when they have events we help the school with food as part of the project.”
She continued saying “even though we have to spend about 3 thousand a month for the maintenance of the chickens and buying the seedling to feed them, at the end the money is good. I am now able to afford uniform for my child and I don’t have to depend on the grant only. Even when my contract ends I will still have the skills they gave me, and I will know more about buying and selling chickens to make money for me and my family.”