BY ZADOCK AMANYISA
Mr Jacob James Kato, a graduate of Business Administration from Uganda Christian University (UCU) ventured into chicken rearing to support God’s ministry and feed the hungry.
The 24-year-old Kato, who majored in marketing, completed his studies in 2014 and was keen to put the knowledge into practice.
Kato hatched the idea of starting the poultry project with the aim of supporting God’s work.
“God’s work and ministry needs financing to reach out to many people, especially in areas like feeding the poor and supporting orphans,” he said.
“Although I did not have enough money to start the poultry project on the two-acre piece of land that we have in Mbarara, my family was supportive. My dad, Dr James Mugume, my mum Ms Christine Mugume and my brother Mr Atwine Mugume supported me and I work as the project manager.”
Kato said that he started off in one of his father’s buildings at Ultimate Hostels, near Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara municipality, and the ever increasing demand for the poultry products made growth possible.
“I began with capital worth Shs22 million and much of this money was spent on buying food needed by the birds in the first four months of their growth.”
Kato adds that he purchased about 1,000 birds from Mbarara town and started taking care of them. Soon the birds started laying eggs on a daily basis.
“The consumption of feeds by the birds was high but I was not disappointed by the returns. The more the birds laid eggs, the more trays of eggs I had to sell,” Kato boasts.
At first Kato would sell a tray of eggs at Shs 7,500 but this has now increased to Shs 8.500.
He said that the 1,000 birds consume about 180 kilograms of maize bran per day if a farmer is to get eggs daily.
“I currently have up to 3,000 birds and I give them about 450 kg of feed on a daily basis, which seems expensive but I have to go on. I harvest a total of 88 trays every day,” Kato added.
The poultry farmer has also maintained a vaccination programme, which is provided and supported by the company that supplied him with the birds.
“The company gave me a booklet containing the vaccination procedure, types of vaccines and how to apply them.”
He went on to explain that vaccination is crucial to avoid diseases that the bird could suffer from time to time.
Challenges and control
Kato said that the major challenges are diseases like Newcastle and coccodiosis; other diseases like Gumboro, diarhoea and butter foot have also caused Kato to lose about 50 birds in a period of one year.
Other challenges include price fluctuation, and the often increasing prices of feeds. The weather changes also affect the birds’ laying capacity, and sometimes inefficient medical services from service providers also lead to losses on the farm.
Kato’s farm has five full time workers that help in mixing feeds and water, making regular bird checking, collecting eggs, removing droppings and other duties as assigned to them.
“I am also mostly available on the farm to closely supervise what takes place here and ensure proper management,” he said.
Kato was able to realize profits from his farm after a period of one year.
“Initially I used to go out into the community to look for market for my eggs but now I sit here and wait for buyers. That is good progress for me,” he said. “I am now able to get about Shs 10 million as my net profit per month. I share this with the family and take part of my share to the church to support God’s ministry,” he said.
He attributes his success to God and he said that without God one cannot do anything.
“I have conducted my business God’s way to serve different purposes and also reach out to the needy.”
He advises the youths to put God first because He is the foundation of everything. He also encourages them to not despise small beginnings but start small and aim for bigger things.
“I urge farmers to tithe because God is the source of every profit they realize in their businesses. You must give back to God in order to be successful and prosperous.”
Kato’s aim is to get his own piece of land in order to try his hand at other projects.
“With growth will come employment for more people especially the youth so that we tackle the unemployment problem, which has ravaged our society.”