Sunny-side up for R600k egg project
A tiny village in the rural hinterlands of Tsolo in Mhlontlo local municipality could soon become the leading producer of chicken eggs, thanks to a government-funded poultry project run by 20 unemployed villagers.
The Siyaphambili Community Work Programme (CWP) in Ntshiqo village, about 15km outside Tsolo, already produces around 850 eggs which are sold to local communities.
The initiative is a collaboration between the Eastern Cape co-operative governance and traditional affairs department (Cogta), the provincial department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism, OR Tambo district municipality and Mhlontlo local municipality.
It was funded by Cogta to the tune of more than R600,000, including providing them with about 1,500 egg-laying chickens.
The project was officially launched on Tuesday by Cogta MEC Fikile Xasa and Mhlontlo mayor Nompumelelo Dywili.
The pair were told by project members that so far they were only able to sell to residents around Tsolo.
The MEC later told the Daily Dispatch that he was impressed and excited about the prospects of such a project.
But he wanted members to find a stable market in the form of big retail shops which they can supply with their eggs.
“CWP [a programme for the unemployed run by Cogta] has always been seen as a job creation vehicle but it was fraught with challenges,” said the MEC.
“It has created tension in some municipalities because they’re supposed to come on board, but exit later. However, they never leave the programme.”
Xasa said the Ntshiqo village-based project should be used as a template on how to develop local economies.
“We want them [other municipal wards in Mhlontlo] to copy everything. One of the wards could start a project to rear chickens which are then sold to this project.”
The Siyaphambili project members had previously been roped in to tend to gardens owned by elderly people as part of the CWP initiative.
They all come from five villages in Mhlontlo’s municipal ward 7.
Dywili said initially residents of Mhlontlo were skeptical when they were told about the CWP programme.
“We never thought they would become business people. Now many families will be able to escape the clutches of poverty,” she added.
CWP site manager in the Mhlontlo area, Phelokazi Tikana, said presently Kokstad and East London were the biggest suppliers of eggs in the Eastern Cape.
But with the launch of Siyaphambili, they wanted to change the dynamics and ensure that Ntshiqo village became renowned as a premier egg producer.
“We want to produce quality eggs here.”
She said however they had approached some retailers who wanted to buy a single egg for R1 whereas they sold theirs at around R1,20 per egg.