Scovia Ngarambe never wanted to be a farmer. Her dream was to be a diplomat. However, circumstance would have it that she was unable to find a job after graduating university. With grit, and determination to make her life better, she stumbled upon poultry farming. This is her story:
My name is Scovia Ngarambe, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Kampala International University.
I own a poultry farm in Mayange sector in Bugesera District-Eastern Province. Our work consists of growing chicks from 1 month old to 4.5 month at a stage where they start producing eggs and manure. During that time, we feed and water them daily. At eighteen months, we start selling them as chicken meat.
It has been two years working in this business and I started with a small farm of 250 birds. After that, I expanded to 500 birds and today I have more than 1500 birds and my business is still growing in profitability.
I don’t have a background in farming. Growing up, my dream was to study at a good university, graduate and maybe get a job at an embassy or any diplomatic institution but when I graduated, I spent a whole year unemployed. Even when I happened to be employed, the salary was too small to fulfill all my basic needs as a young girl.
I started thinking about what I should do to increase my income. My first idea was agribusiness and I started doing research about poultry. In fact, I decided to join agribusiness because I had a small investment in my savings which was not enough to start me off in other businesses like IT. Also seeing that people were importing eggs in Uganda helped me to develop my idea, realizing that there was a potential need of protein, thus a potential market for me.
Capital is a big challenge for all startups. I overcame that challenge by using what I had to be able to start my business. I expanded my business by buying more chicks and making sure that they were fed regularly, to ensure their growth.
Today, there are few young girls in the farming field because many prefer office jobs and they think farming is a dirty job. For me it is a bad narrative because if you do any kind of job in a professional way, you get what you want to sustain yourself.
My vision now is to have 25,000 birds in 5 years and I want to motivate other young people especially girls to start farming projects.
I have employed two people, and the job is helping in making their lives better. I am happy with what I am doing but I am planning to grow my business to able to provide a lot of opportunities to even more people. In two years my business was able to grow from 600,000 Rwf to 15,000,000 Rwf. I supply 800 eggs daily and the market is still big because I am not able to satisfy all of it but with at least 10,000 eggs daily, I would be able to reach everywhere and satisfy the market I have right now.
As I have a background in IT, I am trying to use it in farming. I am looking for a way to install automatic feeding to reduce food waste and ensure cost minimization.
My parents are my inspiration. They are always there to support, and they make me believe that I can really achieve my dreams.
My message to young people especially young girls who are struggling to start a business is that agribusiness is an option they should consider. With their own hands and mind, they are able to feed themselves and feed the society, and at the top of that, create job opportunities for people. Start small, grow big and use the unused land around you.