Mark June, a resident of Mbaguta Cell, Ruharo Ward, Kamukuzi Division, Mbarara Municipality is a graduate of Bachelors of Arts in Mass Communication. Following untold disappointments at his place of work, he decided to sell his smart phone to get capital for this agriculture venture, which he fused with business to make a living as ZadockAmanyisa writes.
After his studies in 2014, like any other graduate, Mark turned stones and bricks in the job market looking for where he could work and survive. He was then working at a Lounge in Kampala, but decided to leave and go back home to apply for a job in the internal affairs ministry, which he got but later involved what he calls scandals forcing him to quit and remain jobless.
“I realized at home we had structures which lied idle and were not being out to good use yet they were suitable for poultry. So I decided to make good use of them. I sold my smart phone because it was not earning me some money. I had bought it at four hundred thousand and sold it at about three hundred thousand shillings but I was paid only two hundred thousand and that’s what I started my business with,” says June
At the back of his mind was buying chicks that he would take care of and be ready by Christmas time. June bought fifty chicks which he started with buying each at One Thousand Eight hundred. He got other necessities like electricity, water, charcoal from home given that his mother stepped in to support him.
He started with five feeders, buying each at 5000 and drinkers each at 20000 from Kampala.
From there, June settled for poultry business and started producing high quality broilers of dressed weight of about 1.3kg at after 33 days. This he says was somehow new to the market in that people were used to buying birds of 900grames and one kilogram. More orders came in demand overweighed supply, this encouraged June to go on with the business.
“I would go out and look for people who had birds. I would buy at a relatively cheaper price and sell for a profit. The returns were promising and I moved from fifty to one hundred and fifty birds. Currently I bring three hundred birds every after three weeks.” He narrates
June’s business kept growing as he saved and increased production to meet the market demands and as mentioned above, he produces 300 birds every after three weeks.
In the beginning, profits he says were minimal because as a beginner, he did many errors which at the same time turned into lessons for him.
At present day, June makes a profit of 3000-3500 Ugandan shillings on every bird he sells depending on the market stability. When the market is stable, a bird gets him a profit of up to 4000 Ugandan shillings.
Averagely, June fetches 1.2-1.5million shillings on a monthly basis compared to the beginning days when he would earn 400,000-500,000 Ugandan shillings.
June says, his business has grown on the basis of quality and his customers are used to getting better birds from his farm, the reason they pre-book his birds. What June does is that when people pre-book earlier, he gets the money and brings more birds which mature and get ready before the day his customers need their order.
He carefully purchases disease free birds from his trusted service provider and ensures that his brooder is clean enough for the birds not to contract diseases, which mainly affect the quality at different farms.
Depending on the number of people, a customer orders between 50-70 birds from June’s farm on a weekly basis. This has seen him move from growing to take off and then to stabilization stages.
Along the poultry business, June is engaged in part time work as a sales representative where he gets some money and injects it in his business.
“Everything that I save from wherever I work, I must bring it into my business but because the business has now grown, I also make enough profits so that I can put it into my business. For example, if I wanted to expand my business Today, I would have no problem with that because the business is now self-sustaining. It pays its bills and everything,” he says
He adds that he has not had bad seasons because what sells him is not the quantity but the quality of the birds and people have kept coming to his farm chasing quality.
June is looking forward to being the biggest broiler supplier in Western region and later stretch to other regions, God willing.
Motivated by challenges
From the beginning, June says he has not had challenges and believed in them because whatever comes as a challenge motivates him.
“I have always come against anything that comes to shock me. So, I don’t look at them as challenges but stepping stones for the next level.” He asserts
In the beginning, June did not know cheaper sources of what he needed to be successful as far as production is concerned and because he was buying in smaller bits, he found most of the things expensive. He most of the times got what he needed through blockers who cheated him at different fronts.
He also experienced a small market base, a challenge he blames on lack of exposure to the bigger markets beyond his neighborhood.
As a way of overcoming the challenges, June decided to first get small and serve big and do quality over quantity. This helped him to penetrate the market and expand his business.
Managing the business
June doesn’t do everything himself. He has people who he prefers calling helpers, not workers because they are in his age bracket and therefore seem to be helping each other.
“Even though I pay them, I don’t like seeing them most of the people I work with work at my farm day in day out. I want you to come to a point whereby you are self-sustaining and therefore, I want to see them move out to do something else,” he says
On a daily basis, June wakes up, tends to his birds, goes to work and keeps coming to check on the birds for about three times to keep a close watch of what is happening at the farm.
He has purchased a solar power supply to avoid load shedding at his farm due to unstable electricity supply.
Taking care of the chicks
Before bringing the chicks, June makes sure that the brooder is clean of the old wood shavings, droppings. He also dusts the brooder and disinfects it to keep diseases away.
He then adds new wood shavings or coffee husks and disinfects them after two days, something he does with air/fog spray.
Clean drinkers and feeders are brought to the brooder and also disinfected.
On the day of bringing the birds/chicks, charcoal stoves are brought to the brooder but are lit and covered with ash or sand to regulate the heat from the burning charcoal.
After being introduced to the brooder, the birds are given water, and glucose to relieve them of stress from transportation before they can be given feeds.
Vaccination is done two times in fourteen days and they are after that period moved out of the brooder.
June’s poultry business has given birth to other businesses which take care of his needs. He pays himself a salary of 300,000 shillings monthly. Other businesses include Rabbit rearing, chicken feed manufacturing, and poultry business seminars. He holds small seminars which give him something minimal and it is invested into his business.
From the business he is doing, June Mark has learnt never to give up or settle for less, and also be appreciative to the people who advise him.
He dreams being the biggest broiler supplier in Western and central Uganda and start exporting his products in other countries.He also looks at a time when he will be supplying relatively cheaper but good quality feeds to various farmers.
June plans making his place a business education center for fellow youths who have seemingly given up on working hard due to lack of knowledge and simply spend time on social media.
Advice to the youth
Much as you are working, have a personal business that can add surplus money to your account.
Never aspire to fulfill people’s dreams. Some youth are always on social media fulfilling people’s dreams. Once you choose to become people’s dreams fulfiller, someone will employ you to fulfill his dreams and you die poor.
Instead of looking for what society has done for you, look for what you have done for your country or society.