Aleka Gebremedhin is an entrepreneurial farmer who is trying to close some gaps of the poultry value chain in Laelay Mayichew district of Central Tigray zone. This post explains how he got into the chicken business and some of his experiences. It illustrates how local value chains constantly innovate and evolve in response to different opportunities and solutions.
Gebremedhin started his business by engaging in pullet production of exotic breeds by buying day old chicks from Mekelle Farm, a privately owned farm. Gebremedhin gets each chick at a price of 35 birr inclusive of feed cost for the first 30-45 days from the farm. Once he brings the day old chicks to his place, he puts them in a poultry house he constructed with the help of a loan from the local cooperative, which also provided credit for the purchase of some initial inputs of his business. He got help to vaccinate the chicks from the Office of Agriculture (the private farm had connected them), and he ‘observed’ how it is done.
Recently, Gebremedhin purchased more day-old chicks from Kombolcha multiplication center, which is a government/public sector managed center. In this case, he vaccinated his chicks by himself. He learned through the “Ethiopian knowledge grapevine” that vaccines he required were available from a pharmacist in Mekelle. Putting this information to action, Gebremedhin contacted the pharmacist and purchased the required vaccines. The pharmacist, in addition to the vaccines, loaned Aleka a cool container to maintain the temperature during his travel back to the village. Then, when he travels back to Mekelle, Gebremedhin will return the container.
Once they are ready, Gebremedhin sells his pullets to other farmers in his district who are interested in raising exotic layers. He is helped in this by development agents (DAs) working in the Office of Agriculture. The DAs collect money from interested farmers and buy the pullets from Gebremedhin. Afterwards, the Office of Agriculture facilitates transportation and distribution of the pullets to the farmers who purchased them. In addition to this, farmers had recently organized themselves in “purchasing groups” which directly contact Gebremedhin and purchase pullets in bulk on behalf of their group members.