10 September 2012

Rwanda: Eggs Hatch to Deliver Woman Out of Poverty

If you drove - or walked - for about 30 kilometers from Kigali on the Kigali- Gatuna road, up to a center called Kwidigiri and asked for Clemintine, chances are that everyone there will correctly direct you to a brown-tiled house. Even though incomplete, it is a decent house worth over Frw 15 million.

What is unusual though, is the fact that about 10 years ago, its owner could barely afford to survive, with no shelter and totally depended on leasing her neighbor's farms to earn a living.

"My life was not easy," Clementine Nshimyumukiza says, recalling the hard times she went through. "I used to rent a small and poorly equipped house at Frw 2,000 per month."

The rapid transformation in the life of this mother of two can be attributed to the first 100 chickens she bought in 2008 using savings earned from selling eggs.

"The money I invested in the eggs business was from selling cassava I grew and harvested in someone else's land," she told President Paul Kagame during a Citizens Outreach visit to Gicumbi district recently.

When Nshimyumukiza cultivated in others people's farms, she explains, she was committed to grow cassava, which she sold and got Frw 50,000. Little did she know at the time that this was really her starting point of the fight against poverty.

Then she started selling eggs. The mother of two says she traded the eggs until she decided to rear hens herself in order to ensure that she gets enough supply. "I sometimes could not get enough eggs because I got more customers," she explains, adding that she had realized that she could also make more profit by raising hens on her own.

"The reason behind it was to manage any opportunity so as to maximize all possible profits," she points out.

A van and a house

Then in 2008 she bought the first 100 chickens and started the battle against poverty - a battle that transformed her from a vulnerable person to one of the most successful ones countrywide.

Since that time, she has increased the number of hens from 100 to 600 in 2009 then to 2,000 last year before she increased the poultry farm to the current figure of 7,000 Isa Brown varieties imported from Belgium.

From the 7,000 hens, she says she can expect a daily production of 6,300 eggs. Each egg is sold at about Frw 67 thus making an average of daily income of more than Frw 380,000. But it is not only the eggs and hens that can generate income. After a month and a half, Nshimyumukiza sells manure taken from the farm for Frw 3 million.

This has helped her buy a mini-bus that facilitates her day-to-day movement and activities, a piece of land, and another plot on which her Frw 15 million house proudly sits. She is also able to pay her six employees a decent salary every month. And these are just a fraction of her achievements.

Anyone would wonder whether such production of eggs easily gets a market, but Nshimyumukiza says she has not even come at the point of satisfying the local market. She mentions that her eggs are supplied to different parts of the country including Muhanga in the South, Kayonza in the East, Rusizi and Rubavu in the West, not to mention Kigali city.

The business has not only benefitted her but her neighbors as well, whom she has taught some business practices.

"Some of us can now earn millions every month thanks to the help and lessons we have got from Nshimyumukiza," says one of her neighbors

Now that she has already paved the way, her next target is to raise 20,000 hens and then strive for value addition by processing the eggs. This, she is confident, can be achieved in one year and a half.

"Self-esteem is a secret to success," she observes. "Then, planning for your vision is a prerequisite tool leading to achieving your undertaking."

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