5. Challenges & success factors
MFE is dedicated to ensuring a smooth inclusion of growers into the company, thus challenges derive from the normal course of business: delivery of feed or vaccinations in a timely manner, efficient egg collection and high layer performance.
Side-selling can be an obstacle to increasing grower inclusion. Growers manage on average 500 layers, which are expected to follow the projected laying curve. Yet, layers often seem to lay below their potential. In principle, the reason behind this would seem to be poor management of water and/or feed. If these factors are under control, experience shows that growers are involved in the side-selling of eggs (or even birds). Even though it is hard to calculate the number of eggs sold or their destination, MFE has no choice but to remove all the birds, take away the moveable building materials and terminate the relationship. To avoid temptations MFE lets growers keep between 10-15 eggs per week so their families can enjoy the product of their labor.
Although the company has only been operating for a year, the recent success is a result of the following:
- Improved layers: The cycle of layers lasts 74 weeks counting from birth to the end of the productive cycle. MFE places birds on the farms at approximately week 17, once the rearing period is complete. This phase is crucial for achieving a high laying percentage in the production phase.
- Company expertise: General Manager Wilfred van der Kooi has been producing table eggs himself for many years and knows everything about the business. Together with the technical officer, he tours the farms daily, monitors the activities and counsels growers on the best management practices. The result is sustained production throughout the farms.
- Effective division of tasks: As explained in the first section, three partners share the ownership of the company and each has its role to play: New Horizons manufactures the animal feed, Eggs for Africa commercializes them and Center Fresh Egg Farm provides the financial muscle to build chicken runs and keep up with payments. Seemingly, all these mesh together nicely for the benefit of the business and its growers.
- Understanding of family/cultural issues: Throughout its 8 years of existence, the parent company New Horizons has gained a profound understanding of community standards and cultural values. This knowledge played an instrumental role when setting up the fresh eggs operation. Aspects such as selection of growers, training and supervision were diligently addressed beforehand.