Surrounding the Uluguru Mountains of Morogoro sits Vonkavy Agrocompany Limited, an agribusiness owned and operated by 29-year-old Eugene Kavishe. Eugene wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning to manage operations between his poultry farm and egg shop located nine kilometers from the main city. His team of fourteen youth feed his chickens; clean, pack, and deliver eggs throughout the municipality; and perform administrative duties to keep track of sales.
While studying economics at Mzumbe University in Morogoro, Eugene was rearing 300 chickens as a hobby in his backyard. “I realized there was a very huge potential with the chicken business,” explained Eugene. In 2011, he created a business plan for a Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) competition. Eugene placed fifth and received $16,000, which he used to increase the number of chickens and cages on his farm. “It gave me confidence that this is something I can do. I could do chicken farming and generate a sustainable income,” Eugene expressed.
In 2014, upon returning from his Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he visited poultry farms and businesses, Eugene had a new perspective on poultry farming and entrepreneurship. Eugene expanded his business and now sells about 10,500 eggs per day. Vonkavy delivers eggs to restaurants, wholesalers, and retailers throughout Morogoro. Eugene’s hope is to double the number of layers and build two more chicken houses.
In spite of his success, Eugene faces many challenges in financial and resource management. He requires technical support and mentoring to advance his poultry farm to a 21st Century business, support that Africa Lead is providing. For instance, Eugene uses 2,000 kilograms (40 bags) of chicken feed per day that he buys from the supermarket or other traders, which is not cost effective or always the best quality. In response, Africa Lead is supporting Eugene to identify raw material producers of maize and soya (which makes up 60% of his chicken feed) to enable him to buy directly.
Africa Lead is also supporting Eugene through a technical agribusiness consultant to help him develop a five-year sustainability plan that includes business objectives, growth strategy, risk analysis, financial plan and projections, marketing and communications plan, and action planning. The consultant has identified a mentor for Eugene and youth business associations for him to engage with in Morogoro. Eugene and the consultant are also working on improving his presentation skills to donors and the private sector to increase investment opportunities.
Eugene meets with Rogart Mmole, Africa Lead management consultant, to discuss his five-year strategic plan. Photo credit: Africa Lead
Eugene believes that the five-year strategic plan will help him meet his goals for expansion, developing a feed production operation and a fish farming project by 2019. Eugene explained, “The process is really interesting and exciting. I’m realizing solutions and coming up with different ideas and initiatives to meet my goals.”