She said of her one year experience, her most challenging moment in the business is high mortality rate especially during the last cold season.“Of the 400 broilers, I lost over 350 within their first two weeks. I don’t know what happened to them, which was why I registered with VETCO, a veterinary hospital for professional medicare, and since then I have had some kind of drop in mortality rate,” she said.Amina stated that another major challenge is the market to sell the chickens at a profitable rate.“They buy our chickens that weigh between 2 and 2.5 Kg at just N700 and even at that rate, it takes more than two months before they pay us. That is where our problem lies, so government should help us the small farmers with a profitable market and quick access to loan facilities as well as training on how to improve our capacity.“As you can see, we have also made effort to establish an association made up of 200 female backyard poultry farmers so that we can help each other and to also approach government and organizations for help.“Poultry business is good but requires capital, patience, care and a lot of capital, especially with the outbreak of Bird flu that we have been hearing about.”On her part, Hajiya Salma Ahmad, a fulltime house wife in Kinkinau GRA,Ungwan Muazu, Kaduna, said her first experience at poultry farming which she started with 150 broilers encouraged her to continue because she recorded very minimal mortality rate and good profit.She said afterwards, she experienced mortality rate of up to 60 birds in their first five weeks due to cold and strange white stool.“But the situation is under control now since I visited a veterinary doctor who charged me N3, 400 for registration, medical care and vaccines. Hajia Salma also lamented the lack of stable market which according to her has discouraged most women from going into the business.“We have a lot of challenges from those who buy our chickens in the market. The buyers most times delay or even refuse to pay us after supplies. I sell off my chickens that weigh between 1.3 and 1.5kg at N800.Meanwhile, in the leather industry, the complaint is that people treat products locally made with contempt and as such place less value on them. Some women who are into leather works lamented that their products are usually referred to as inferior even when they have lasting capacity than the ones made by their counterparts.Vivian Vetebe Vitalis hails from Adamawa State but resides and does leather and Ankara works in Kaduna. She is basically into making of shoes and bags. “I started leather works in 2012 during my service year. After my service at Ibadan, I came down to Kaduna and got myself involved with ‘Foot Savers’, a manufacturer of all kinds of shoes, and there I garnered a whole lot of experience that is helping me today.”“I make shoes, sandals for infants, children, students, ladies, men, corporate shoes for workers as well as boot for sports. I also make school bags, travelling bags and fashion hand bags among others. Because I have sewing skills, I do all the sewing myself. My love for craftwork drove me into this profession because right from my childhood, I had this dream of producing everything people wear.”The materials she uses for her products according to her include natural leather from animal skin and hides as well as synthetic leather from industries. “We also use adhesive, marco, foam, nails, accessories for decoration, sewing machine and last, among others. To start a shoe, you have to use the last to make your pattern and then to end the shoe you have to use the last to form the shape of the shoe,” she explained.The major challenge she said she faces is getting people to know about her products and getting them to accept and trust them. “Many feel that our products are substandard and as such prefer to patronise the Aba-made or foreign shoes. Little do they know that some of our products are more durable than some foreign footwear because we do our work well, neatly and we give proper time for airing so that they can couple well.”“I bath with some of the slippers I make for myself; yet the gum doesn’t go off, that is to tell you how good our products can be, even though they are locally made. So, it is really challenging for one to build that reputation to a level that people will trust and look for your products wherever they are.”“I buy materials in Barnawa and Central markets but there are some materials we don’t get in these markets but rather in Lagos or Aba. So, the cost of transportation and risks involved is a challenge. This in turn affects the cost of production, which buyers may complain about,” she lamented.Another challenge is buying the products on credit. “Most times, when you go to market your goods, people want to pick them on credit all because they feel its Nigerian-made. However, people who have used them testify of their durability. All the same, people who want to buy in bulk for retailing tend to beat down the price below the cost of production simply because they don’t value the products.”In the area of accessing fund, she said she has not made effort to get loan from any bank due to the processes involved and the high interest rate. She also said fear of not being able to repay the loan has also discouraged her from accessing loans all the while. “With the level I have gotten to in this business, I am planning to make a move, so that my business can have a face lift,” she said, admitting that leather work is a very creative and lucrative business.In spite of the challenges associated with the business, Vivian dreams to establish a big company with various departments where people can come to learn leather work as well as employ a lot of people with whom she would work together to export shoes of international standard.She urged government to come in the area of funding. The machines for making good shoes are capital intensive. There are different types of filing machines, some of them are very big and cost millions of naira. There are some other machines for cutting and final finishing among others; they are quite expensive and without government support, it may be difficult to move fast in the business.Another woman who makes all kinds of fashion bags and belt among others also decried the attitude of Nigerians to their products, saying “People see our products as inferior and most times don’t want to patronise them.”
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