Rwanda: Former street kid Gold Rwema runs a thriving poultry farm
Gold Diogene Rwema, a 29-year-old entrepreneur from Kirehe district, is making his fortune from poultry farming and hatchery which he started in 2018 with two local breeds of chickens and 23 hatched kuroiler eggs after graduating from university .
In 2016, Rwema obtained her baccalaureate from the Catholic Institute of Kabgayi (ICK) thanks to the support of the FARG-Genocide Survivors Support and Assistance Fund.
Orphaned since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Rwema found himself on the streets – homeless.
A former street child, Diogene Rwema now supplies over 9,000 chicks from 21 chicks in Kirehe district. Photo by Michel Nkurunziza.
He told Doing Business that after graduating, he spent two years researching poultry farming and wondering where to find investment capital.
“I was thinking about how to get capital to start a big project, but I didn’t have such financial capacity because I was jobless. I decided to start poultry farming with my few resources” , he said.
In 2018, Rwema spent Rwf10,000 to buy two local breeds of chickens and 23 kuroiler eggs from a neighbour.
“The 23 eggs were hatched by the two chickens from which 21 kuroiler chicks survived – three roosters and 18 hens,” he said.
Kuroiler chickens are breeds bred for egg and meat production.
After six months of activity, the young entrepreneur, who founded the company Diosol Ltd, said he had an innovative idea and made his own small incubator and hatching egg machine using learning materials on the YouTube channel.
5,000 eggs per day and 10,000 chicks per month
The small machine he made had the capacity to incubate and hatch 200 eggs to produce chicks in 21 days.
“This little machine has helped a lot to increase production to over 600 kuroiler chickens at the start of 2019,” he said.
The entrepreneur who recently won a Rwf 1.5 million prize from the Youth Connect Awards in Eastern Province at provincial level said he currently raises more than 8,000 chickens of which 5,000 lay eggs every day .
“Besides supplying and selling eggs, in 2020 I purchased a large Rwf 7.5 million incubation and hatching machine from China which helps me produce and sell about 10,000 The machine has the capacity to incubate 1,200 eggs. This machine has helped a lot in increasing the production of chicks,” he said, adding that the price per chick varies between 700 and 1,000 Frw depending on the type.
They include ISA Brown chick at Rwf1,000, Plymouth chick at Rwf900 and Broiler chick at Rwf700.
“We also have an e-commerce platform at www.diosol.rw to be able to expand our market and let customers know more about our products,” he noted.
Rwema, who said he has not yet used a bank loan, said he plans to expand his business to Kigali and Northern Province soon.
Make briquettes, pesticides, manure from chicken droppings
Rwema said he previously used charcoal to warm up chickens, but after charcoal prices spiked, he started making briquettes as an alternative fuel from chicken droppings.
“The briquettes are environmentally friendly because they replace charcoal and they don’t give off smoke. Briquettes could save 80% of the trees we cut down.
I used to spend seven bags of charcoal over a 14 day period to heat up chickens with one bag at Rwf9,000 spending over 60,000. However currently the cost I used to incur for charcoal has decreased to only Rwf 12,000 for the use of briquettes,” he said.
He said he aspired to get a large, modern machine to increase briquette production.
As a double benefit, he added, when the caloric energy is depleted by the briquettes burned when reheating the chickens, they later become poultry feed.
“I also use poultry resources to feed my 24 pigs,” he said.
The entrepreneur added that he also produces pesticides and two tonnes of manure to grow vegetables, fruits and other crops on his four-hectare farmland.
“The pesticides I produce from chicken dung are environmentally friendly…per farming season we harvest and sell green beans for more than Rwf 8 million,” he said.
Chicken manure is an excellent source of nutrients with at least twice the nitrogen and phosphorus content of other farmyard manures like cow manure.
Give back to society
He said that as an orphan and former street kid who overcame obstacles, he also gives back to the community.
“I train people in poultry farming for free,” he said.
The entrepreneur has also started an initiative to provide free chicks to all vulnerable children in the community where he operates his business.
“It’s a way to eradicate malnutrition and inculcate entrepreneurship and save culture in children. I gave Kuroiler chicks to children in two villages,” he said .
The Rwema company currently employs three permanent workers and 30 casual workers.
The Benefits of Kuroiler Chicken Breeding
Poultry farming has always been an attractive option for small entrepreneurs. It doesn’t require a lot of capital to set up, it’s easy to manage, and best of all, its returns are always lucrative.
However, the introduction of the Kuroiler chicken breed is constantly changing the poultry industry in Africa, both at subsistence and commercial level.
According to East Africa Agribusiness Magazine (ea-agribusiness.com), the kuroiler is a genetically improved Indian breed, bred from crossing colored males with Rhode Island Red females and producing both eggs and meat.
The name of this breed of bird seems to have been coined from the word BROILER.
Kuroilers grow faster and mature in about 10 weeks compared to landraces which are several months old.
The Kuroiler Chicken performs quite well in what experts call “scavenging conditions”. You can feed them animal or plant remains. Unlike other breeds, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to feed them.
As we all know, the native chicken produces tastier meat than modern breeds.
Additionally, native breeds are known to lay extremely nutritious yellow eggs.
The Kuroiler chicken is like the native chicken, its meat is tasty and it lays York yolks.
While the native hen produces about 40 eggs per year, Kuroiler produces about 150 eggs during the same period.
While the regular chicken weighs 2 kg, the Kuroiler weighs 1.5 kg more.
The only downside to this chicken breed, however, is that they do not incubate or hatch their eggs. As such, you would need to purchase an incubator for the job.
To breed kuroiler, it is advisable that 10 hens be mated to one rooster.