GAIN’s Marketplace Rwanda helps hatch new business

Kigenza Rogers of GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods in Rwanda recently caught up with Joseph Nshimyemungu of the Rwanda Agriculture Business Consultancy (TRABAC) to learn more about how his poultry project is improving nutrition and providing economic opportunities  in his community.

When Joseph Nshimyemungu started his poultry business four years ago, he had no idea that it would grow to become a source of income for not only him and his business partners, but also for many others in his community. For years he had been struggling to set up an agribusiness that would put food on the table for his wife and two children. However, with the support of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition’s Marketplace for Nutritious Foods – Rwanda, The Rwandan Agriculture Business Consultancy (TRABAC) is now creating opportunities in Rulindo District.

As Joseph remembers, getting his poultry project off the ground was not a walk in the park. With little working capital, he struggled to buy poultry feed and lacked proper equipment, such as a water tank, feeders, and drinkers for the chickens, needed to operate a profitable business.

Joseph’s fortunes changed early last year, after he responded to a call for proposals from the Marketplace Rwanda. After undergoing a rigorous selection process, his business was selected for funding along with four other applicants. He received expert technical advice and training in business planning and product development. He also received a grant for 32,000 USD, which he immediately used to double the number of chickens in his operation, put up a chicken structure, buy modern feeding equipment and a feed mixer.

Today Joseph’s life is not what it used to be. He has big dreams for his enterprise and is finding it easier to manage his farm. When I visited his farm during the mid-morning hours, there was little activity in the compound save for two labourers who were putting the final touches on a structure. He later informed me that this structure would actually be his office – an indication of how much he has progressed and how much further he believes he can go.

At the entrance of the chicken structure, I was directed to disinfect my shoe soles and ushered in by one of his three full time employees. The well-lit structure housed 2,000 well fed chickens about one month old. Water drinkers and feeders were strategically located at different points to avoid overcrowding.

“I am very proud of this farm today. Before we got funding from GAIN we did not have a proper structure for the chickens. We also had a great problem with feeders and drinkers. Today we have this structure that can accommodate 2,000 chickens throughout their life span; from the first day they are born to when they start laying eggs and eventually are sold off after they have stopped laying eggs.

Joseph shared that before acquiring assistance from GAIN, operations at TRABAC were not working well for him. There were a lot of challenges in managing his farm, especially with the use of traditional equipment, which was ineffective. “Now I have modern equipment that is hygienic and saves feed,” Joseph says.

As with all Marketplace grant recipients, TRABAC’s aim is to satisfy the needs of the local community before expanding to other locations in the country and beyond. Joseph’s operation makes eggs available to low income households at reduced prices to enable them to access this nutritious food.  Unlike other enterprises where buyers are required in larger quantities, here, the locals can buy as much or as little as they can afford.

Joseph is already reaping the fruit of his labour and is optimistic about the future. He plans to build additional structures to accommodate a total of 6,000 chickens.

“The local community here is very excited about this project. We have made it possible for them to buy eggs at a lower price and a lot of people have been employed. More people are going to be employed when we put up the other additional structure and this is great for the community,” he explained.

Find out more about GAIN’s Marketplace for Nutitious Food

Published 7 February 2017

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