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Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:19 - Updated Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:52

An example of entrepreneurship in Chicala-Cholohanga

Chicala-Cholohanga - The culture of entrepreneurship is bit by bit becoming very popular among Angolans, aware of being it the main driving factor behind a country's economic and social development.

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By  Gabriel Ulombe
 

But what few would imagine is that civil servants have embarked on this practice, focusing mainly on identifying opportunities, grabing them and seeking the resources to transform them into a profit-making business.

This is what José Ventania, a 48-year-old resident of Chicala-Cholohanga municipality, 42 kilometres of Huambo city, has been promoting since 2012: an aviary to raise chickens for slaughter and egg production.

Despite having only the salary to start the business, the "egg man", as he is known where he distributes the production of his aviary, has everything to become a successful entrepreneur, he told ANGOP .

"I do not easily give up on my dreams, instead, I seek to be creative and bold in what I do. Under the conditions in which I develop my business without financing, it is not easy, but it encourages me to know that I am contributing to the policy of diversifying the national economy and reducing imports," he said.

The civil servant, who has 3,500 laying hens, 500 of them already adults, said that the country needs more entrepreneurs, especially in the agricultural sector, taking advantage of existing natural potentialities.

Ventania appeals to commercial banks to be less bureaucratic in granting loans to entrepreneurs, which makes them to complain.

Driven by the attitude, he gave shape to a project that was not his. The son of parents who made of cultivation of the land their breadwinning source , admitted the idea of ??raising birds is not his, but says it was a persevering attitude that allowed to push the project forward, the third of its kind in Huambo.

"I still remember when on a Saturday, in 2012, I came to contact cousins ??Agostinho Sangueve and Alfredo Katchivoli, who brought to me the idea to create an aviary," he recalls.

After the conversation with the cousins, from the municipality of Quibala, in the province of Cuanza Sul, where the raising of poultry is common among farmers, Ventania was entrusted the responsibility of finding a plot of land.

Without a notion of bird-raising, he travelled with the cousins ??to Talulua village, in the municipality of Chicala-Cholohanga, where they obtained the land.

The next step, he said, would be to move to Cela (Cuanza Sul), where, with the help of aviary owners, they learned more about the business of raising chickens.

The entrepreneur explained that, when everything seemed to be on track, his cousins gave up the project without any explanation , after they had left for Luanda to purchase equipment.

Despite the difficulties in the beginning, he never thought to give up.  Risk is always, or almost always, present in the entrepreneurial activity and requires, on its own, boldness, creativity and tenacity to get around. It is exactly what happened to Ventania, who considers the beginning of his career "true madness".

Without experience, abandoned by the project mentors and, to make matters worse, with little money, he had to subject  the family to sacrifice, depriving it of some well-being, to feed the dream of becoming a poultry farmer.

In 2012, he says, he bought the first three thousand chicken chicks for slaughter, many of which eventually died, because they did not take the care they needed in the first weeks of life.

With no money to hire a veterinarian, the poultry-farmer, who spent his nights at the aviary, had to work his way through the lives of chickens and poultry breeders to learn the primary care and to avoid the chicks' serial deaths.

This bad phase was quickly overcome and, over time, through the slaughter and sale of chickens, the entrepreneur began to see the profits of the activity.

"In the beginning, it was very difficult. I almost thought of  giving up, but I had faith that things would improve anytime. The sales of chickens allowed me to build another larger facility and invest in egg farming, leaving behind the chicken slaughter," he said.

Usd 15,000 invested at the beginning

Asked about the initial capital invested, Ventania, a former soldier who was demobilised under the Bicesse Accords in 1990, said he did not always have the courage to disclose the amount.

"I always told my kids that I did not have any money, and if they knew I had invested Usd 15,000 in the aviary, they could have been sad. When I started, I chose some discretion for my family, because it was a risky initiative, " he says.

After five years, he assumes that raising poultry, whether for slaughter or egg production, is a profit making but very demanding business.

From August this year, the former soldier intends to move from 350 eggs per day to three thousand. This increase will result from the acquisition, early this year, of 2,700 laying hens added to the existing 500.

Also from August, the poultry farmer is considering to put in place another chickenhouse and about four thousand hens, which will allow to extend the sale of eggs to the neighbouring provinces of Bié and Cuando Cubango.

Small scale producer without fear of big competition

A few kilometres away from Ventania's aviary, there is another that produces, on a daily basis, 25,000 eggs, with plans to increase.

Despite this, the small producer does not fear the competition, but instead sees it as an opportunity to progress,  believing that the consumer market is selective and broad.

"Competition is good for any activity. In the case of egg production, it is not the quantity that matters, but rather the quality and customer loyalty," he argues.

Despite the little time it takes to get the eggs to customers, the entrepreneur reveals that he supplies to 10 shops, eight in Huambo province and two in Bié.

He says he's satisfied, but he wants more. "The goal is to reach the Cuando Cubango market and more stores in the provinces we already supply," he says.

As for the difficulties in acquiring rations, the poultry farmer stated that he will soon build a micro-industry that will also produce other small breeders of laying hens in that region.

A finalist of Mathematics from Huambo Higher Institute of Education Sciences, José Ventania intends in future to create a cooperative of the small egg producers in the same region (Huambo), to facilitate the flow and share the best techniques of production and veterinary treatment.

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Huambo: Poultry farmer José Gervásio Ventania

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