By Tsakani Mathebula
OFCOLACO – Women changing gender stereotypes by venturing into fields that are traditionally male-dominated. It is believed that economically empowered women would form part in the solution in breaking the cycle of poverty within families.
Ntsako Shipalana, a year 28-year-old from Ofcolaco, is a founder of a poultry business that was established in 2017 and also a founder of Royalty Campaign, a sanitary pad drive that was launched in 2016 as part of her birthday celebration.
Shipalana celebrated her birthday in a unique way in 2016 where she gave instead of receiving. She was chosen to become one of the Brand South Africa’s play your part ambassadors. This is in recognition of her efforts to improve the lives of women through her initiative, the Royalty Campaign.
“Surprisingly the drive grew and reached three provinces which landed me as one of brand South Africa play your part ambassadors,” she said.
Shipalana describes the poultry business, Olori Chickens to be very close to her heart. Olori Chickens grows chicks from a day old until selling point using a 42-day cycle and supply households with fresh organic chickens.
“I started this business because I have always had a desire to have a chicken business and I thought I could make it fun as many tend to undermine this kind of field. It was also a way of creating employment,” she added.
Meanwhile, the business started with 500 chicks and one employee. “Over the years we expanded from 500 to 1000 production, from just selling live chickens to slaughtering for household’s convenience. Delivering the chickens to the comfort of the customers and we employed more people,” she added.
She indicated that she gained more knowledge of the field by attending seminars by other farmers. Therefore, she broadened Olori Chickens by introducing manuals, seminars, and sessions for beginners. She mentioned that as a young person, challenges are unavoidable.
“I had to go through theft, mismanagement, even self-doubt but I always remembered why I started and that served as motivation,” she said.
As the industry grew and chickens being the most consumed meat, Shipalana introduced ways of involving other aspiring poultry farmers as part of community role-playing. Community role play includes having middlemen in different locations and donating chickens to disadvantaged homes.
“I am looking forward to greater opportunities and more. I work quietly but love to execute accordingly. I am never half in or out if I decide to do something, I do it wholeheartedly,” she added.
She aspires to see more female farmers taking the field by the horn. She advised young aspiring business owners to be patient, understanding, and have wisdom in everything they do.
“Don’t rush the process. Your biggest supporters are strangers and that’s fine, it doesn’t make others your enemies,” she explained.
In every business there are challenges, the young farmer explained that as a poultry farmer, the inconsistency of the pricing on feeds can break you if you’re not well managed.
“The challenges I face as a young person is being undermined and people making me feel incompetent to produce a good product,” she concluded
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