By Keletso Mkhwanazi
Poultry farms in Winterveldt, near Pretoria, have received a boost from the City of Tshwane, including Bopape Poultry. Taphlos Moeketsi Bopape, 45, who owns the farm told Vutivi News that the development and produce strategy has given his business a shot in the arm. Farmers attended a training programme and a course on basic poultry production where they learned about biosecurity, production, chick handling management, ventilation, water management, and cleanliness. They were also instructed on how to administer vaccinations.
The city and the National Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also provided the farmers with 30,000 broiler chickens. Bopape said that his farm used to produce 1200 chicks in a six-week cycle. “The Tshwane initiative has helped us increase our capacity by a further 2400,” he said, adding that the initiative was a game-changer for small producers and farmers.
“I have been running the poultry business with my wife and sons since 2013. We started the business due to the high rate of unemployment and the sole need for our family to survive not forgetting… community development and youth empowerment,” Bopape said.
He was very grateful to the city as they now currently managed to employ two people permanently and two on a casual basis. He told Vutivi News he has had to deal with a number of challenges, including accessing markets and the high cost of production inputs. “Load-shedding has been and continues to prove to be the biggest threat to the business because in winter we have to spend more trying to provide heat for day-old chicks because electrical heating is used to regulate the temperature,” he said.
Also, the cholera outbreak that recently hit the Tshwane region had been devastating. “We had to buy water for the chicken because during the outbreak we faced a lot of loss of chickens with an unknown cause of death,” he said. His farm supplies local businesses, which are mainly in informal settlements, and butcheries. Bopape encouraged young people to think about pursuing a career in agriculture. “There are many government programmes that are aimed to assist the youth, especially women, to start production and, therefore, contribute to the economic and social well-being of their communities,” he stated.