Some farmers thriving on PNCR Buxton poultry project
-others waiting By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
May 10, 2004

Related Links: Articles on food stuff
Letters Menu Archival Menu

At least three farmers are thriving on the PNCR poultry project in Buxton and the current participants are urging more people to come on board.

"The PNCR had spoken to a few people about getting involved and these people went and build their pens, but since then they have been waiting and nothing is being done," Colin Hope one of the farmers told this newspaper during a visit to the farms on Tuesday.

The project, which was launched last year January, is part of the Sustainable Village Revitalisation Programme. The programme came on stream shortly after PNCR Leader Robert Corbin was elected to lead the party following the death of its previous leader, Desmond Hoyte. Corbin, during several fact-finding visits to the community, had proposed to initiate cash crop and poultry farm projects.

He did this at a time when crime was rampant in the troubled village, which was infested with several wanted men.

While the cash crop project never got off the ground, the poultry farm project has been up and running. It has also spread to the village of Ann's Grove also on the East Coast and Coordinator Charles Corbin said in time it would take root in other areas.
Growing chicks: Roy Porter one of the poultry farmers in the PNCR project tends to his baby chicks at his farm located at Friendship south. (Ken Moore photo)

Nine farmers were chosen for the opening of the project which is now into the sixth batch of chicks. However, for this batch only four farmers are in. The others are out for varying reasons and they could not be contacted when this newspaper visited the area.

Participants were provided with baby chicks, all the supplies for growing the birds and a guaranteed market. All of the farms were equipped with the appropriate amount of feeders, automatic water dispensers and other requirements.

Speaking to Stabroek News, Hope and two other farmers - Roy Porter and Tricia Newton - disclosed that they were very happy when the PNCR announced the project last year. The 28-year-old Porter, a father of five, said the project came on stream at a time when he was unemployed after he had a falling out with his former employer. Under the project, which is being supported by Bounty Farm Ltd, Porter said, the company would provide each farmer with 500 baby chicks and 44 bags of feed for each batch. Each batch is expected to last for six weeks after which the chickens are collected by the company and a percentage of the profit ranging between 20% and 35% is given to the farmers.

Both Hope and Porter acknowledged that the arrangements between the company and the farmers are reasonable.

Located at Friendship south, Porter's farm is in his yard. He said he welcomed the project from its inception and will always support the initiative. "But other persons have to come on board… is just eight of us now and they are plenty people who want to join."

However, he agreed that this would be subject to approval from Bounty Farm.

But while Porter is looking out for his fellow villagers, Hope said he was hoping Bounty Farm would increase his quota of chicks from 500 to 1,500. "I have the capacity to take an increase. I have the pen space and everything and would be happy to have some more."

Both men acknowledged that at the end of every batch they would have birds worth over $40,000. While they did not go into details as to how much they would earn at the end of each batch, the farmers said they were happy.

"We can't complain we are not providing our own chicks and feed, our financial input is roughly about $2,000 per batch so the percentage we earn is really reasonable," Hope said.

Newton, 30, said she has been with the project from the inception. She too would like to have an increase, but said it would depend on her performance and at the moment, she did not have the accommodation for an increase nor the money to make any investment. Newtown said she had suffered some losses since the programme started.

In the first batch, several of her baby chicks died, but since then she has been able to maintain a reasonable farm. Like her colleagues, the woman depends on the farm for her sustenance and does not see herself dropping out.

"I will continue once I am getting the support," Newton said.

Porter told Stabroek News that he had no other job and depended on the business heavily for the upkeep of his family. Hope said the situation was the same with him, except that he rears a few pigs.

Hope, who is 35 years old, said he preferred to rear birds than lime on the streets. He recalled that prior to his involvement in the project he used to operate a grocery shop just off the Buxton railway embankment. Hope said that for no apparent reason, the police, during one of their raids, broke down his stall and threw away his goods among other things. He said at present a lawyer was looking into the matter for him.

In terms of challenges, Hope recounted that in the first batch he lost as many as 200 birds. An arrangement was worked out and he received another supply of baby chicks. Porter said apart from the every day maintenance of his farm he did not have any other problems.

Capital support for the initial project was approximately $1.9 million with the range for each participant being between $170,000 and $235,000.