In 2018, Ambrose Ariho, a Counter Terrorism officer attached to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Okoth Ochola’s security detail was on duty in Kitgum, northern Uganda.
It was a Tarehe Sita celebration. A local there was selling local chicken. Ariho had some money on him. It was less than 100, 000, he recalls. This bought him four local chickens.
That is how Ariho’s journey to rearing local chickens at the Police Barracks in Naguru started.
“They all laid, sat on the eggs and hatched. Luckily, all the chicks grew. That’s how I made 80 birds,” Ariho says. Ariho then turned eggs. The 80 birds gave him four trays of eggs per day (over 20 trays per week). Ariho sold the eggs to his friends, colleagues and his superiors at Police headquarters, Naguru.
At some point, his birds’ number grew to 450 but his vet advised him to reduce the number due to space.
He allowed, and reduced the number to the current 50 birds ( a cock and 49 laying local birds). Just that sale, Ariho earned 1 million shillings.
But even with the current 50 birds, Ariho says he makes a minimum of 200, 000 per month after spending almost the same amount per week on food and medicine per week.
Ariho’s strategy is that once he realizes that a bird is tired of laying, he allows it to sit on the eggs. After which, the chicks grow as he sells the exhausted bird.
Ariho’s only challenge is space. The current space is squeezed up and can’t allow for expansion and growth.
“I come from Rukungiri and it’s far but if i had a piece of land within, i would have gone to 1, 000 birds,” Ariho says.
I have a plan, he notes, “In case I get money and I acquire land, I can invest in this project because I see money in it.”
“When I was reducing, I sold one cock at 100, 000. Out of 15 birds, I made a million,” Ariho says.
Diseases don’t worry Ariho. He has his vet both on voice call and on WhatsApp.
“Whenever I see something, I take a photo and I send it to the Vet for advice. If it requires them to physically come, they do. Sometimes I slaughter a bird to see what the problem is,” Ariho notes.
The officer is slowly adding on a few broilers to the project.
Work and the poultry project
Ariho’s kind of work does not require him to be on the watch 24/7. Once the IGP has settled in office, he rushes home to do the feeding and leave behind/add on some water. In the night, he sleeps at 1am after ensuring that the birds are okay.
When he is away, his brother takes care of the birds.
However, he now says that he has a wife who understands the project and is confident she can take care of it while he is away.
“My wife now understands the project – when to feed and give medicine and if something needs me, she sends me a photo on WhatsApp,” Ariho says.
Ariho says the poultry project offers him side income. He says that sometimes by the time the salary is coming, he has already spent it. So, he says the poultry project gives him back up.
According to Ariho, he has reached out to a few friends whom he introduced to the project. Ariho says they are doing well.
“This project is a good venture and has money,” Ariho says.