Yakubu Ibrahim is the chairman of Albarka Poultry, a company that is into production and sales of chickens eggs and chicken feeds. In this interview, Ibrahim reveals how he started his business with five chickens after completing his secondary school in 1994. Today he has over 30 staff working with him.
Could you please tell us how you started?
I began my poultry business when I was in the junior secondary school by buying five chicks and after rearing it for some times I was able to sell four. Impressed with what I got, I decided to buy more chicks to rear at home. After completing my secondary school, I decided to be going to the market to assist my uncle in his business and at the end of the day, he was giving me N40. It was with this money that I was able to buy the container in which chickens are served water to go and sell to people that are into chicken farming.
I was doing that and getting little profit when one day luck came my way where some poultry farmers demanded 500 pieces of this container. I met the Ibo man dealing in the containers and requested for them, which he obliged after presenting a guarantor. I took it to them and collected my money. I got a N5000 profit from that single deal. That was how I became their regular supplier. Sometimes, they would request for as many as 1000 containers. They would just call to make demand and I immediately supply it.
When I got about N70,000 I decided to open my own shop. I rented the shop at N50,000 and with the remaining money, I started selling chicken feeds and other related materials.
I was managing the shop together with my brother. We were selling the chicken feeds by measure to further make it easily accessible to the young poultry farmers who could not afford a full measure. We package for as low as N10. This has given young children the opportunity to get chicken feeds for their birds.
In two years’ the business has developed to the extent that we could buy one tonne of chicken feeds from the producingcompanies.
The business continues to expand so much so we had to rent another shop. We also bought a small truck which we are using to transport the chicken feeds. Our number increased from two to five.
From there, I decided to venture into chicken feeds production.
As I said earlier, I started with five chickens but by God’s grace I was able to put as many as 7000 chickens in my poultry farm. I have over 30 people now working under me in the farms and the shops.
You have talked about the successes; what are the challenges?
Our main challenge is bird flu. It is our greatest problem because when it comes, our chickens are destroyed. It is affecting my farm and also in my shops because poultry farmers will not come for the chicken feeds. If government can do something to ensure that we don’t have bird flu, we will be happy. Another challenge is that sometimes we are faced with the problem of scarcity of some of the commodities. Like now, the price of maize has gone high, but we are coping with it.
Do you train people on poultry farming or chicken feeds production?
Yes, we do. The National Directorate for Employment (NDE) has been bringing their trainees to me for training and apart from that, even students of agriculture from the Bayero University and the Federal College of Education are coming here for their industrial training. I accept whoever is ready to learn.
What advice do you have for the unemployed youth?
They should stop waiting for white collar jobs. Time for that has passed. They should think of a skill or a small business and gradually by God’s grace, the business will expand to a level they never thought of. This poultry farming can be done with a small capital and one doesn’t have to look for a big place to start it. One can use a cage to put the chicks and within a short time, they will see how the business will expand.
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