Unemployment drives law graduate to poultry farming

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Mar 31, 2021

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WHEN law graduate Lungelo Ndebele from Harrismith in the Free State struggled to find a job during the Covid-19 pandemic, she decided to start farming poultry.

“I wanted to start a business that would function even if we were in level five of the lockdown. I am an attorney, so if I opened a law firm, it wouldn’t be able to operate all the time, but with food security, there is always a need to work,” she said.

She said she started her business with 70 chickens, and now she has 300 chickens. She sells eggs to her community.

Ndebele, 26, said there were basic things that she needed to do when starting her poultry farm.

“The most important thing is shelter, clean water and feeding. I decided to sell eggs, because a lot of people lost their jobs, so not many people can afford to buy chickens, but with eggs, it is a different story.”

The price of her eggs ranges from R1 for one medium egg to R1.50 for an extra-large egg.

“We get eight trays of 30 eggs, and they are different sizes. Then we grade them from medium, large and extra-large,” she said.

Ndebele told Business Report she encountered some challenges when starting her business.

“The biggest challenge was access to land, because buying a farm was so far-fetched, being an unemployed graduate with a credit score that is zero. We decided to buy land in a rural area, as it was cheaper,” she said.

She said another challenge was the high price of feed. “We spend most of our income buying chicken feed,” she said.

Ndebele said a bag of feed costs about R250 and lasts for one day. “Each chicken has to eat about 110 grams of feed a day, so for the 300 it is about one bag a day,” she added.

Ndebele said she hoped that one day investors would come knocking on her door. “My goal is to grow the business, hire people, create jobs, and with investors, that will be possible,” she said.

She said she hoped to expand her business one day. “My long-term goal is not only to feed South Africa and create jobs just in South Africa, but I would also like to export the eggs to neighbouring countries,” she said.

Ndebele said she would encourage unemployed graduates to think outside the box and open businesses.

“Don’t confine yourself into what you studied. The skills you have learned can help you in your business. When I started a poultry farm, I incorporated my studies with that.

“It’s not always glamorous, but, at the end of the day, you have to know why you doing what you are doing,” she said.


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