In this edition of SWITCH, we caught up with Mrs Francisca Quaye, MD of Rosons Foods, an originally trained Health Administrator who is currently a full-time poultry farmer.
SWITCH: THE DARING STEP
“7,000 birds died in a single morning. Imagine my shock when I woke up to several missed calls from the farm only to discover that the birds we had raised to the age of 12 weeks were dead. The worst part is not being able to get to the farm immediately and having no idea what went wrong”.
AG: Can you Tell Us About Rosons Foods Ltd.?
FQ: Rosons Foods Ltd is a registered farm for poultry and animal feed production. The poultry farm is located at Bonkua, Suhum Coltar Road, Asuboi We have well-ventilated flooring, lighting, and fencing that are designed to provide the birds with safety, housing, and convenience in mind. Our first batch of birds were 11,000 birds, and currently, the farm has about 50, 000 egg-laying birds, specifically layers, and is one of Ghana’s biggest poultry farms in the Eastern Region. The farm currently produces about 1,000 crates of eggs a day. At Rosons, we pride ourselves on having a good vaccination plan, which is very significant because it prevents diseases from the farm. Apart from that, we have well-trained staff who are well equipped to take care of the large number of birds the farm has. Rosons Foods also makes our feed to monitor what the birds are taking in. You cannot be too sure about the composition of the feed on the market. We are a modern farm that serves the urban community with fresh poultry produce.
AG: What Makes Rosons Foods Ltd Unique from Others?
FQ: Rosons Foods Ltd. has established a good business rapport with our clients and distributors. We are not a poultry farm that is interested only in profit-making, but our involvement of labour from our environs demonstrates our commitment to local community involvement in business operations. The farm has an agrotourism concept that allows visitors, especially families, to have fun and learn about rabbits, catfish, and goats to broaden their perspective on animal farming.
AG: Madam, You Have a Masters in Health Admin So Why Poultry?
FQ: There wasn’t a specific motivation behind the switch. I happen to know people in the agricultural sector, and upon discussions, I realized that going into commercial poultry farming would be beneficial. It is an opportunity that came my way, and I decided to put in the needed effort to make it work. I have come to love the job, and caring for poultry and livestock is now something that piques my curiosity.
AG: Was This Big Switch Easy for You?
FQ: It was not easy when I changed careers. I had to tune my mind to start this journey. To succeed, I had to be focused and determined. You need to gather strength and knowledge, and also learn on the job. You must keep challenging yourself each day to be able to advance in the business and also enlighten yourself with animal rearing in any form.
AG: What Was Your Most Challenging Day at The Farm?
FQ: I visited the farm only to see my birds dying, and I had no idea what was wrong. We had about 11,000 birds and after the incident, we were left with 4,000 birds. Imagine raising chicks to the age of 12 weeks, expecting them to produce eggs for sales. Only to visit the farm and find them dying. The worst is not knowing what went wrong and having only a few birds left.
AG: What Accounted for This Huge Loss?
FQ: For individuals with little knowledge, there is always a risk associated with the job. We did not have an expert in the field to guide us when we first started. This was a great disadvantage to the farm. So, we never saw this incident coming.
Ag: Did You Feel Like Giving up After the Incidence?
FQ: I was sad that I had lost so many chicks, but I didn’t feel like giving up. I also felt disappointed for not being able to detect this before it happened. Following the incident, I had specialists on hand to advise me on the right measures to take to curb this issue. This served as a learning experience, and I immediately worked on it to avoid such occurrences in the future.
AG: How Were You Able to Recover?
FQ: Following this experience, it was essential for us to have an expert on the ground, someone who would always be on the farm to give us the needed guidance. Ever since the professional came to the farm and is always supervising it, we have not had that challenge. However, I will advise you to do some research before you start the business. In my case, I had to go through this painful experience to know the right measures to take.
AG: Can You Describe Your Typical Day?
FQ: On a typical day, I go on my “ward” rounds to every cage. I also interact with the staff managing the catfish and goats. I have meetings with staff because I noticed they give me feedback concerning the animals when I have conversations with them. They usually tell you what is going on after you have discussions with them. During my ward rounds, I spend time observing the birds and the size of their eggs so I can detect problems and call the manager to quickly assess and attend to the bird. I spend time doing this, so I can appreciate and relate to customers when they complain. After monitoring, I sit down with administration, which includes accounts and administrative officers, to discuss the status of our ingredients, which is one of the key things to have on a farm. It is essential to check your records to make sure you have the needed ingredients on hand so you do not run out of any. With accounts, we discuss what suppliers we need to use. I end the day with a meeting with my production manager to find out what is needed at the production site and any challenges they face.
AG: Is It Difficult Getting Staff in The Poultry Sector?
FQ: The only difficulty I had with workers was finding someone for casual employment because of our location in Asuboe, near Suhum. The town’s young residents are less enthusiastic about doing part-time work. It’s difficult to find them, especially when you’re expecting a truckload of corn and don’t know how you’ll offload it. You’ll acquire them, but it won’t be easy.
AG: What Advice Would You Give to Someone Who Wants to Go into The Poultry Sector?
FQ: Currently, it is not an easy sector to break into, especially if you have not gathered the needed resources. As I previously stated, if you do not plan or get the experts to help you put the right figures on paper, you will find yourself wanting. We have had people calling us to buy their birds because they could not feed them. So, before you enter the sector, find someone to guide you. I would not say it is not a profitable venture; it depends on how you manage it.
AG: Were There Any Lessons You Brought from Your Old Career to The New Field?
FQ: Oh, Yes! When I first started, I got a lab coat and pretended to be going on “ward” rounds, as doctors do in hospitals, which made me smile. As an administrative staff for about a decade, you are responsible for managing day-to-day operations and ensuring that every unit within the health institution runs smoothly. I carried a similar experience to the farm. Also, you must always be aware of what is happening within your unit; you cannot simply sit in your office and complete paperwork. You must interact with employees and work cooperatively with them. These are the same ideals I’ve instilled in my employees. I don’t simply sit in the office; I take a walk around the farm to check what’s going on. I have learnt a lot and I am trying to implement the ones I need on the farm.
AG: Would You Encourage a Switch?
FQ: It depends on the individual. If you have the passion and the required resources to switch professions, then you should go ahead. But for some businesses, it is not advisable to run. If you have not researched enough, you will likely run at a loss. A perfect example is the poultry industry. If you are at the farm every day, you can make crucial decisions that you will appreciate.
AG: How do you balance Family and Work?
FQ: I cherish children’s care; thus, I make decisions that will benefit my children and family. I make time for my family because I recognize the importance of spending quality time with them, which provides me with the needed satisfaction.
| Keys Lessons from Switch
Ø Research Ahead Before You Start The Business.
Ø Put In the Needed Effort to Make It Work.
Ø Love The Job And Make It Of Interest To You.
|Rosons Foods Limited