Don’t ever give up. Just keep on pushing. With time, you will get the yield of it.
I was inspired to engage in poultry farming since I was a kid, thanks to my uncle who has a big poultry farm in Kaolack, Senegal. As a girl, I loved chickens and birds, and I wanted to create a small house for them. When I returned from a visit to his farm in 2016, a year after completing my university studies, I decided to buy 25 birds to start my own business in my village – Essau, in The Gambia’s North Bank Region. A year later, my grandma offered me a space to build two poultry houses in Brusubi, close to the capital, where I managed to move and gradually increase the number of birds to up to 350 units. Today, I am the Founder and CEO of Benedict’s Poultry Farm.
I was fortunate to benefit from IOM’s mini-grant scheme, which included an intensive three-day business training and grant of GMD 50,000 (approximately USD 1,000). I was informed by a friend about the program, so I picked up an application form because I wanted to expand my farm and build on my business skills. Thankfully, my application was successful.
Before receiving the grant, I had a lot of challenges with buying the feeds in bulk and transporting it to my farm in Tujereng. Through the programme, I was able to address these issues, which increased my production rate. With the slaughtered birds, I now supply mini-markets, some supermarkets and local customers.
Attending the three-day training also really improved the way I run my businesses (aside from the poultry business, I also have a food processing business). I learned how to do proper accounting and can keep track of how much I am earning from each activity. I also learned how to network with people and work better with my employees. My best experience was being able to meet new people, including trainers and colleagues, and share our business ideas. I made a lot of good memories. My ambition is to expand to 500 birds and be able to have a standard poultry house, where I can produce eggs and birds that can supply the nation.
I am hoping young people realize that there are opportunities available for each of us. If you want to go into poultry farming, commit yourself, because there are a lot of challenges. Don’t ever give up. Just keep on pushing. With time, you will get the yield of it.
Mary was a beneficiary of IOM’s mini-grant scheme under the Supporting Local and Economic Development (SLED) project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The scheme was implemented in partnership with Reliance Financial Services.