Bongi’s business skills and determination – a winning combination

Bongeka Mahlasela’s journey in poultry farming is a remarkable story of determination, growth, and the value of farm and business management skills.

Bongi completed a Poultry Production course at Buhle in 2022, in our partnership with Sasol, the Department of Agriculture and the African Farmers Association of South Africa. To house her first 100 chicks at her farm in Sasolburg, Free State, she built a homemade structure in her backyard. In her first cycle, 20 of the chicks died, but her resolve never wavered and by her second cycle, her mortality rate drastically improved to only 2% – and now it is at 0%!

Such is her determination that on her fifth cycle of her broiler production she kept 100 chicks inside her kitchen while waiting for the completion of her chicken house!

Her commitment to continual improvement led her to complete courses in farm management and business management which, coupled with her growing experience, empowered her to secure funding for a new chicken coop. Operational since early January 2024, this coop houses 1000 chickens – significantly scaling up her operations.

Bongeka has been innovative in her business approach. At first she sold live chickens, but by her third cycle, she began slaughtering them, adding value to her products. She also sold chicken parts like heads, feet, livers, and intestines. Her pricing strategy evolved with her business, starting from R80 for a live chicken and increasing as she added slaughtered chickens and other products to her offering.

A cold storage facility, built along with the chicken house, enables her to store her slaughter chicken and start new cycles without having to wait for all chickens to be sold first.

Bongeka’s success is evident in her sales and income growth. By maintaining a zero mortality rate, she made substantial gains in her income. Her ability to adapt her pricing in response to changing costs and market demand showcases her astute business acumen.

A notable aspect of Bongeka’s journey is her community network. She has built strong customer relationships, contributing to a reliable customer base. Also, she collaborates with other local farmers to ensure that all of them can ensure a steady supply of products to her customers.

Additionally, Bongeka’s venture has had a positive impact on employment in her area. She currently has one employee and plans to increase her workforce as her operations expand.


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