Drawing inspiration from his father’s poultry farm in Iganga district, Grace Tumwesige decided to venture into poultry because of the nationwide lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second-year student of Bachelor of Education at Uganda Christian University was a fresher when the government instituted the lockdown making him unable to report for a year.
From savings he had gathered after working at a friend’s mobile money center earlier last year, he bought five mature local breed chicken at Shillings 100,000.
He took advantage of a large fenced compound at home, which helped him minimize the costs of buying chicken feeds as he rears his birds under the free-range system.
While he started with five chickens, Tumwesige has made over 100 sales since last year from which he gets facilitation while at school for basic needs like airtime and study material.
When he reported to school two months back, his mother took over the poultry business.
The initiative is not even close to where Tumwesige wishes it to be. At the moment he notes that while he has the capacity to rear over 200 birds, he limits them to a maximum of 70 as he shares their shelter with those that belong to his father.
It is evident from Tumwesige’s s narrative that this is a venture he has grown to be passionate about as he invests his time reading about poultry farming from successful farmers as well as keeping company with people of the kind.
The student also notes that from a glimpse of how unreliable his profession could be in the future after learning from the lockdown, chicken rearing is something he wishes to stick to all through life.
He notes that while free-range helps him minimize feeding costs, he has plans of acquiring his own space to establish cages to confine the birds for faster growth.
As the Christmas season approaches, Tumwesige expects to make huge profits because of increased demand for the chicken. A chicken he normally sells at Shillings 20,000 will go to up to Shillings 40,000 during the season he notes.
Tumwesige’s classmate, Nobert Waluzeze reveals that he looks at the young entrepreneur as an exemplary friend for his hard work and the fact that he is able to finance most of his needs. He says that Tumwesige is so proud of his business that he is always talking about it among friends.
Tumwesige’s regular client, Nicholas Mwesigwa reveals that the lockdown has been a lesson to people like him to take advantage of any kind of situation. “Grace is passionate about his business and he will make you love what he does, seeing the way he takes care of his birds I am always compelled to buy for consumption,” he said.
Tumwesige is just like many other students that have learned to start up income-generating projects from the lockdown experience where most parents fell into a strong financial strain to support their families following massive job losses. The pandemic has claimed more than five million lives globally.