Gasabo: How pigs better graduates’ lives
Written by: Daniel Tuyizere
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, 10:05
Much as pigs are considered dirt animals the experience of fresh graduates shows that they are capable of cleansing one’s wallet save alone guaranteeing them a brighter future. They say the difference is big and their smiles are bigger after two years in the trade which has inspired many.
With the skills they got from the University a small group of six youths have demystified the widespread syndrome among graduates that all jobs are created by the government.
At the University they made a resolute never to suffer from the pangs of poverty and unemployment just because one is waiting for the government to give them white-collar jobs, a chance most never get in a lifetime.
Hence, they conceived a kind of savings group that later graduated into Work Hard Unity group, which exclusively runs a piggery unit.
The growth of Rwanda’s service sector, especially the hotel sub-sector has widened the market for meat, which has made their business lucrative and paying off. Mr Ananias Mwizerwa, the accountant at Work Hard Unity group says that a grown-up pig goes for between Rwf140, 000 and Rwf150, 000 while the group’s account is credited with at least Rwf30, 000 after selling a single piglet.
Most of them have been reared and studied in Kigali city, which explains why they have discovered the treasure in pigs this late.
The group co-founded by Kevine Musabimana, Eugene Manzi, Ananias Mwizerwa, Francois Murengerantwari, Alexis Biziyaremye and Emmanuel Habineza is based in Kagugu sector of Gasabo District in the capital, Kigali.
They say they nursed the idea of starting this business during their University life which was characterised by various activities where they met.
Mwizerwa recalls that they conceived the idea of a piggery unity during one of the meetings by Genocide Survivors Students Association (AERG) which focused on ways of improving the livelihoods of survivors and how best they could sustainably own their future.
Hence, they agreed to create a pool to which each one of them would contribute Rwf40, 000 from their FARG living allowance.
They later opened an account in Equity Bank which they say was very central in starting the pig business.
They started with an initial capital of Rwf700,000. “We rented a piece of land, bought two pigs which have multiplied to nine full grown pigs while we have been selling piglets every three months,” recalls Mwizerwa.
The growth of the hotel sub-sector has opened many economic opportunities which have improved livelihoods save creating a better future for most youths, notes Mwizerwa. Adding that the apparent lucrative hotel industry created a sure market for pork and the price of pigs is on a rise.
Rwanda’s Youth Entrepreneurship Training Project that builds confidence, innovation and creativity in youth survivors plus other traits that are desperately needed and lacking in the Rwandan job market recently trained members of Work Hard Unity group. This was one of several occasions that have helped them upgrade their entrepreneurship skills, adds Mwizerwa.
As long as many young genocide survivors are unable to access capital and support that would make their business ideas a reality, generate greater employment and prepare their products for export the Rwandan society might not get utmost benefit from skills they get day in, day out.
To this effect the Ex Coordinator AERG, Jean De Dieu Mirindi, advises them to grab various business opportunities like taking part in business plans competitions.
He hence congratulated them upon attending the concluded business plans competition that showcased entrepreneurs who showed committed to their businesses as well as demonstrating wish and potential to grow.
Their commitment to pig farming attracted an investment fund of Rwf500,000 from the Survivors Fund (SURF) with which they expanded their business by constructing a new spacious pigsty that can accommodate dozens of pigs.
Work Hard Unity members say this business enables them earn a comfortable living and they don’t regret their choice.
“Before we started this business our minds would meander from one job to the other in vain, we had no job to focus on but this job has greatly changed our lives in many dimensions,” observed Francois Murengerantwari.
“For example, when I get a temporally job, I always wake up early and make sure that the pigs are safe and have got food. This pig farming has really helped me. I am now able to take care of my basic needs and I also hope to get to the next level.” adds Murengerantwari.
Mwizerwa reveals that their business is currently estimated at two-and a-half million Rwandan francs. On the village they absolutely enjoy monopoly in that business. This helps them get pig feeds from their neighbours in exchange for natural manure, then sell the rest.
To achieve their ambitious goal they save a larger portion of the sales to boost investment in the near future.
“This approach has helped us to have one vision and focus - nowadays we cannot afford to live lavish lifestyles since we still have a long way to realize our dreams,” says Mwizerwa.
There is at least Rwf400,000 on their bank account which is used to extend small loans to members in the event of a financial need.
Murengerantwari and his colleagues have never wasted time searching for a job like many graduates do. He calls on all graduates to consider creating their own jobs rather than looking in all directions for one in vain. Their goal is to defy the odds to become high profile entrepreneurs in Rwanda and beyond.
Kevine Musabimana, the group representative says that they yearn to increase the number of pigs to at least 100. They want to expand their business by producing many piglets and other pig products like pork and sausage. Besides, plans are to introduce new breeds to complement the local breeds.
They plan to buy more land to expand their premises that are currently too small to accommodate the pending expansion plans. Hence, they call on investors and development partners to invest towards this young project.
Mwizerwa advises youth graduates to create their own businesses since there are a few jobs on the market, adding that it will help them make their skills productive and useful to society.
They need also to change their mindset since good jobs are not only those of offices. He advised people when get jobs, to try and find out how they can save some amount for their own investment and create their own jobs that can also offer employments for others.
As they do not have their own land they face problems that stem from renting like not having full powers on how the land can be development whereby the landlord can decide otherwise. This problem means a lot in terms of business continuity and stability.
They have inadequate financial means, which hinders them from expanding their business and/or start other projects.
Work Hard Unity group is grateful to institutions such as FARG, SURF, AERG and several individuals that have stood with them along the bumpy journey right from the start.