Isondo Farmers is transforming the poultry farming industry

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The chicken industry, especially the broiler sector, has progressed from being fragmented and locally oriented, into something that is highly efficient and increasingly supplying customers nationwide.

The poultry farming sector is South Africa’s biggest agricultural industry, however, over the years it has struggled to remain competitive because of multiple and large import tariff protection measures. South Africa’s poultry farming, despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, has seen a five per cent increment in production in the first half of the year, a statement from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition said.

Ellen Mokau established and founded Isondo Farmers, a stokvel of black emerging poultry farmers. Mokau started backyard poultry farming under La Elle Creatives and realised there is a demand in poultry farming.  She then connected with a group of black emerging farmers who saw the gap in the industry where most of the poultry farming operations were not being commercialised. The aim is to start by raising R150 000 to be able to farm 3 000 broiler chickens for the first cycle for meat production.

As emerging poultry farmers, Isondo Farmers wanted to also tap into other farming activities such as crop, vegetables and fruits to ensure revenues resources are expanded. Isondo Farmers was birthed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic has affected a lot of communities, the virus was a wake-up call to emerging farmers that together they could do more.

Poultry Stokvels and the benefits

There are many poultry stokvels, they differ per group, some are members are paying money to a group of farmers or a farmer to raise livestock for them and they take out the costs and give the members of the stokvel profit., Mokau explained. The others are where farmers come together to share capital cost like rental of the farm and the buying of livestock.

Poultry stokvels have a lot of benefits for both farmers and people who want to become farmers without knowledge. The main benefits include the reduced cost of equipment and feeds or equipment as a group instead of individually.

How can one get into Poultry Farming?

Mokau advises anyone interested in joining poultry farming to first choose which type of poultry they would like to farm – for instance, broilers or layers; then learn as much as possible about that poultry, identify the market and the place of operations. Once all of that it is done, then start working on a budget and raising the funds.

The average cost for broiler chick is R41, this includes the cost of chicks, vaccines, feed, shavings (bedding), heating, water, the salary of the farmworker and rent. You can make 37% profit. For example, if you raise 100 broiler chickens, your total cost at R4 100, and sell at R65 per chicken you can make a total of R6 500 and profit of R2 400 if none of your chicks or chickens dies.