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Tanzanian woman starts egg farm

Anne Zacze (left) manager of Global Development Programs at the U.S. Grains Council, and Neema Minja, owner of Kebag Corporate Limited, talk about Minja’s farm in Tanzania. Minja has established a successful egg farm. She sells to a local supermarket.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Neema Minja overcame many obstacles to own and operate a poultry farm in Tanzania.

Minja, owner of Kebag Corporate Limited, took part in the U.S. Grains Council’s Food for Progress project, helping her address challenges including theft and lack of financing.

While many in Tanzania sell their eggs to a middle man, Minja has worked to sell hers at a supermarket, which was not an easy feat. Minja talked about her journey at the USGC annual meeting.
“My farm is located in a coastal region, not very far from Dar es Salaam,” she said. “It’s a four-acre farm with five poultry houses. Two of them are bigger, and three of them are smaller. The collection percent at the moment is up to 85 percent, which is good for me.
“I came up with a business plan. I looked at risks and solutions. From the business plan, I came up with a marketing plan and brand. My objective was to sell at the supermarket.”
The USGC helped Minja create a label and logo, as well as purchase plastic egg cartons from a neighboring country.

Now that she is established at the retail outlet, the demand for her eggs has increased. Some weeks she is unable to fulfill all of her orders and has to buy other high-quality eggs to meet demand.
“I’m planning to have another farm so that I can keep my business and reduce disease transmission,” she said. “Quantity matters. I’m also planning to produce my own feed because the cost of operation, most of it goes toward feed.”
Food For Progress

Anne Zacze, manager of Global Development Programs at USGC, also talked about the poultry scene in Tanzania.
“To give a broad overview of what the market is in Tanzania, the current per capita consumption is only 90 eggs and 4.4 pounds of poultry meat,” she said. “Which is much less than that of developed nations such as the U.S.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the per capita consumption in the U.S. is 263 eggs and 58.4 pounds of poultry meat.
“However, their GDP growth rate is 7 percent,” Zacze said. “Their economy, income and middle class is growing. As that is happening, their consumption of eggs and poultry meat is the No. 1 protein source they are starting to use.
“Their broiler farms, where meat is produced, and layer farms, where eggs are produced, are much smaller than that of the United States. Their average farm size is 100 to 500 layers and 100 to 1,000 broilers. Neema has defied these odds. She has a layer farm of 3,000 birds.”
The U.S. Grains Council revisited Tanzania starting in 2014 as part of the Food for Progress program. The program has three goals:
  1. Promote quality feed formulations for poultry.
  2. Develop self-sufficient industry associations for poultry producers and feed manufacturers.
  3. Improve broiler and layer production through training seminars.
Feed Revolution

Through the program, the council hopes to develop a strong, self-sufficient poultry and feed manufacturing industry.
“In 2013, we did our first research, trying to assess the market for the program,” Zacze said. “I sat down and got my eggs for breakfasts, and all I tasted was fish. Afterward, we went around to a small feed mill and learned that poultry producers were having feed with whole fish inside it.
“The quality was extremely coarse. In their mentality, seeing a whole fish meant it was good quality. But the chicken couldn’t properly eat the fish. Through our work, we’ve changed the industry’s perspective and feed miller’s perspective of what quality feed is.
“Now, over 80 percent of the feed produced is quality, ground, Central Veterinary Lab-tested feed. It’s been a huge success.”
To learn more about the Food for Progress program, visit www.grains.org.

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Article by Erica Quinlan, Field Editor
Published Thursday, August 25, 2016 2:00 PM @ agrinews-pubs.com
Erica Quinlan can be reached at 317-726-5391, ext. 4, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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