ELEMOKWU JOY hails from Ika North East Local Government Area and is an Architect by profession. She is the CEO of Divine Cristal Agro-Allied Services located in Asaba. Joy is a Brown YAGEPreneur, a beneficiary of the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) of the Delta State Government. She shares her story of how the support package she received through Brown YAGEP grew her business.
“Immediately after I had my second child, a friend of mine advised me to begin a business that would augment my salary as my family was expanding. Then I was working in an Architectural firm, I thought about it and decided to go into poultry. I bought 10 broilers from the market and only 4 survived. I learnt from that experience, sought knowledge and bought 25 out of which I was able to rear 24 to maturity. Subsequently, I bought 100-day old broilers and the success rate was high and I continued.
“One of the challenges I faced was feed, how to buy feeds for my broilers, to overcome this hurdle, I decided to bring it to my environment by selling poultry feeds. Immediately I did that people were happy, commending me for bringing solution to the problem of going long distances to buy feeds. Gradually, I saw the need to expand to poultry vaccine. Apart from being a poultry farmer, I also sell poultry feeds and vaccine.
“Fortunately, support came my way through the Delta State Government’s Brown YAGEP. The job creation bureau came looking for already existing farmers. I was interested and got enrolled. YAGEP officers inspected my structure. Having met their criteria, I was supported with 400-day old broilers and 150 bags of feeds given by instalments to ensure that the feeds do not expire and for effective monitoring of my farm. This support package transformed my business. I was able to bring them up to table size. From the proceeds, I acquire a land of 100 x 50 for six hundred and fifty thousand naira. I continued to stock and restock till date; I have diversified into layer birds too. My target is that by the end of 2021, there should be a structure on the land to enable me to relocate from our residence and a rented incomplete building to a permanent poultry farm where I can increase my stock.”
“Another major challenge I encountered was that I was always at the mercy of market women who would want to buy less than my production cost. This got me thinking. The idea of grilling came, and my husband advised me to engage a caterer to train me on best practises on meat spicing. Thereafter, I bought deep freezers and two giant grilling ovens. I now slaughter and freeze my chicken. I only sell life broilers to market women occasionally. I started grilling and packaging them for sale. I currently supply grilled chicken to some supermarkets. People call to encourage me for adding value to the agricultural value chain. At the South-South Export Enlightenment and Engagement Forum, I met with exporters who promised to expose me on how best to reduce the moisture content of my product to increase the shelf life, improve the packaging and to make it exportable. I am also researching on it on my own.”
“This is where I am. From being someone who did not know where the next meal would come from, I am now an employer of labour, I have two employees, a male and a female. The male takes care of the shop while the female takes cares of the poultry. I appreciate Okowa for the initiative and the job creation bureau for identifying me when I least expected it. Without the support package, I would not have realized my potentials. The YAGEP support package I received from the State Government moved my business from stagnation to growth”.
Written by Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh