Entrepreneur Ann-Elizabeth Swai is the founder of poultry business AKM Glitters in Tanzania. Instead of selling chicken meat and eggs directly to the public, he built a franchise business model where AKM Glitters provides its franchisees, or ‘brooder enterprises’, as the company calls them, with farms inputs and technical services to run their own poultry. adventure. Currently, franchises do not operate under the AKM Glitters branding, although this is something the company is working on.
Dar es Salaam-based AKM Glitters provides its franchisees, usually existing smallholder farmers, with a package of daily chicks, feed, vaccine, medication, drinkers and feeders, poultry guidebooks as well as the other tools and resources they need to grow them. The company also provides them with extension and training services. The franchisees then rear the chickens for about four weeks and sell them for a profit of 20-30%.
AKM Glitters has around 520 franchises across the country. Farmers choose to work with the company because it can be challenging for them to find high-quality chicks and supplies on their own. AKM Glitters specializes in the hardy Kuroiler breed, originally from India. It took the company 10 years to get the necessary approvals to import this breed. The Kuroiler is a dual-purpose breed that produces both meat and eggs. The breed has high egg and meat production, with egg production ranging from 160 to 200 eggs per year.
From UN employee to chicken trader
Swai spent many years working for the United Nations (UN). During that time, he started buying day-old chicks from nearby villages and raised them in his backyard. This side hustle proved profitable, as he was able to sell eggs and live chickens for meat consumption.
In 2006, Swai left his job at the UN and used his early retirement savings to focus on his full-time poultry venture, a move that was “terrifying” at the time.
In the early days of his business, Swai continued to operate from his home, gradually expanding his operations. He bought a small incubator with a capacity of about 3,000 chicks, which he used to hatch the eggs at home. A modest feed mill was also installed in his garage.
Starting in 2010, Swai began to slowly move the company’s operations out of his home. In 2011, he brought in a lawyer and financial expert as fellow shareholders who help manage the business on a day-to-day basis. The abbreviation “AKM” in the company name represents the first names of the three shareholders, while the “Glitters” part represents Elizabeth’s desire to “brighten people’s lives and make them shine”.
Swai has built an integrated business by investing along the poultry value chain.
Currently, AKM Glitters has three parent stock farms that produce eggs for the hatchery, where they are incubated. The company produces more than 150,000 chicks per week from its hatchery, which are then sold to franchisees across the country.
A few years ago, AKM Glitters opened its own feed mill, producing chicken feed from local crops such as corn, soybeans and rice. The company plans to enter into a farming contract with local farmers to ensure a consistent supply of the desired crops. Under this arrangement, it will provide training, extension services, and farm inputs to farmers. By working with farmers, the company aims to avoid production interruptions and ensure continuous crop supply.
Despite increasing competition in the industry, Swai sees opportunities for growth. He said AKM Glitters’ strong and trust-based relationship with small farmers is one of its competitive advantages. Trust is essential when working with these farmers, and he emphasizes the importance of being honest and transparent, even with production challenges. He believes that the inclusion of small farmers in the decision-making process is key to maintaining relationships.
Broiler chickens (chickens raised specifically for meat production) are in high demand, and AKM Glitters plans to expand production of these birds. Swai is also considering investing in an abattoir to process chickens raised by AKM Glitters franchisees for sale in the local market and abroad.
Within the broader poultry supply chain, Swai believes there is potential for local production of products such as veterinary drugs, safety gear, and feeding systems. Currently, most of these items are imported.
AKM Glitters founder Ann Elizabeth Swai’s contact information
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