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Hatching a New Business

Afghanistan, May 21, 2004

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    Fawzia Mohammad Hazan is using her second Mercy Corps loan to expand the poultry business she successfully started with the first loan. Photo: Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps Photo:

Name: Fawzia Mohammad Hazan
Age: 35

Location: District 7, Kabul (Afghanistan)

Over the din of hundreds of cheeping little chicks, Fawzia explains the business plan for her newly launched chick farm.

“Last year, with a small loan from Mercy Corps, I started raising adult chickens and sold their eggs,” says Fawzia. “But a few months ago I realized there was a huge demand for baby chicks. I started to save a little money every week to buy the necessary egg incubator equipment to raise the chicks, but at the rate I was saving it would have been over a year before I had enough money. So, as soon as I repaid my first loan with Mercy Corps, I took a second larger loan [22000 Afghani, about $440 USD] to start this new business.”

Fawzia received her second micro-loan from Mercy Corps in March 2004, purchased four imported egg incubators for about $260 USD, and then converted the incubators to run on gas rather than electricity due to the unreliable electricity supply in Kabul. Just one month later, Fawzia’s first batch of 400 baby chicks are two weeks old and will be ready to go to market in a couple more weeks.

The cycle to raise a batch of chicks is about six weeks long, from egg to market. Fawzia estimates that about 340 of the 400 chicks will make it market, each fetching about 35 Afghani.

“After my costs for eggs, feed and vaccinations, I should make a profit of about 5,400 Afghani ($108 USD) a batch,” says Fawzia. “And this is income in addition to my existing egg selling business.”

For now, Fawzia has her hands busy juggling eggs and chicks, but in the future she has plans to expand her business into a major poultry farm.