While everyone in Southern Africa is talking about the controversy surrounding imported chicken, with some saying the imports are injected with all sorts of hormones, a local brand Ndu Chicken has just broken into the market to serve Lesotho organic chicken.
Ndu Letlatsa Kalaila, a 37-year-old entrepreneur, already employs 19 full-time employees and six others on a part-time basis in his chicken farming business. Kalaila started off in 1996 working in South African mines as a labourer and kept on developing his skills until he ended up at the Wits Business School where he studied accounts.
“I only worked in the mines so I could take care of my brothers and sisters since our mother, who was the bread winner, left us when I was doing Form E so I took over from her,” Kalaila said.
He revealed that he has always really wanted to start his own business since he was a child when he used to sell apples and other foodstuffs on the streets of Maseru.
“They used to call me “ice cone” as I was selling ice cream after school,” he added.
His passion for business never died and in 2014 he left the mines to live his dream. Kalaila started chicken farming in 2013 and since then he has never looked back
“I started with as little as 100 chickens and now I have capacity to raise 15,000. I never got any external financing; I only used my own money and kept ploughing back the profits,” he said.
He has faced many challenges starting this business venture, and continues to face challenges, chicken farming takes a lot of knowledge and experience, but he is learning every single day.
He has confirmed that Ndu Fresh chickens are fed with chemical-free feeds mainly maize and soya, he also said that at Ndu Fresh Chicken Enterprise they do not use multivitamins or any chemicals to boost the chicken’s growth, his product is purely organic.
Due to the price of imported chickens, he has to sell his product at a very low price, which is not easy to do since chicken feed is expensive due to lack of feed mills in the country.
“Feed is extremely expensive. We started packaging our meat late 2014 making only chicken chunks with a sticker on,” he said.
Speaking about his lifetime goals in the business world he showed that he wants to develop this business until the brand is so well marketed that it can sell outside our borders.
“We are currently running two farms one at Ha Mabote and another at Koalabata. We also have a mini-abattoir with the capacity of handling 3,000 birds per day at its full capacity,” he said.