Many businesses, including the poultry industry, face challenges of ready market in the face of high operational cost.
To avoid total collapse, some business owners have deployed technology and other innovative ways to enhance productivity.
Dressing poultry for the table is tedious work which requires some amount of skill.
After the bird is slaughtered, the very difficult part is getting rid of the feathers.
Common methods include plucking the feathers, dry off the body of the bird and dipping it in hot water to soften the base for easy drop-off.
In some cases, two or more people join hands to work on a bird for faster delivery.
For 38-year old Yakubu Idris, the hustle of manual plucking of chicken feathers is over as he spends less time delivering to the consumer.
A year ago he bought a feather-removing machine.
A round aluminium jar of the size of a mini barrel sits on a knee-high metal stand.
With bullet-shaped rubber fittings around the inside surface, it’s powered by electricity.
A slaughtered bird is dropped inside the fast-turning machine and hot water poured at regulated pace and quantity.
The rubber fillings caress the body of the bird to get rid of the feathers, giving a clean look within two minutes.
The feathers drop through holes at the bottom of the cylindrical container. Call it dressing of chicken birds made easy.
With it he is able to process up to three fowls in a matter of five minutes.
The birds go in at the top of the round cylindrical machine; the feathers come out at the bottom.
Yakubu delivers on-time ultimately; volumes have improved from the period before he introduced the machine.
His business in Mamobi has become very popular with time-conscious customers.
“Because the machine is faster than the hand people like the machine more than the hand…Assuming now if we kill like hundred fowls, if you want use your hands to do it, before you do twenty, i have finished the hundred with the machine. That is why i am using the machine”, he happily explained.
A big order of thirty dressed birds is being placed for a restaurant at nearby Nima.
Businessman Abdel Basit buys and stocks chicken in bulk every day. He used to have the feathers removed by hand, but now prefers the machine.
For a businessman like him, time is money. Basit explains that, “With the hand, I spend more than 15 minutes. But with the machine, within 5 minutes then you are done. So time is very important, I don’t waste my time when i come and it is neat than when they use their hands that is why i like the machine”.
After the feathers have been removed, Yakubu Idris chops the bird into to pieces, according to specification of the customer.
While it costs customers three Ghana Cedis for a hand-dressed bird, one has to pay 10 Ghana Cedis if it’s done with the machine.
Nonetheless, many customers go for the more expensive option even though there are competing farms within the enclave.
Yakubu Idris says the machine has improved his business.
“It’s helping my business….Plenty people are coming. In a day I will get the fowls more than two hundred or three hundred”.
Customers keep lining up for Yakubu Idris’ business.
The willingness to pay more for its services means Obama Farms makes a lot more money, thanks to technology.
It is running so well that he thinks of expanding.
Maybe then, the people of Accra can buy machine-dressed fowls not only in Maamobi, but all over the city.