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Doing business with her heart

Rising above some initial difficulties, such as inconsistent supply of materials and strong competition from imports, the young businesswomen is living her dream and remains optimistic about her evolving business.

©FAO / Scarlin Inanga

25-year-old Alvina Doris Ntsame Akono lives in Oyem, situated in the Woleu-Ntem province of northern Gabon. After dropping out of high school for financial reasons, she learned about the breeding profession from a friend who was already in the field. Within a few months, she uncovered a passion for breeding domestic animals. She soon became entrusted with a farm of 15 pigs, which allowed her to turn her passion into a reality and into a full-time job.

Like Alvina, the inhabitants of Oyem are mostly small-scale farmers and breeders. The soil is fertile, and the demand for poultry and pork meat is steadily increasing. However, most farmers have little access to seeds or animal feed. In addition to this, there is a lack of tools and knowledge about good practices for food production and modern livestock management. The high cost of feed also poses major obstacles to livestock development and income stability for smallholder breeders.

Alvina, together with 250 other farmers, was selected to participate in a training on cooperative management and feed production. The latter, requested by the Government of Gabon, consisted of evaluating the potential of raw material available for the production of animal feed and has helped boost the livestock sector’s activity and increased production of quality meat products at competitive market prices.

After having provided theoretical and practical training on feed manufacturing and the operation and management of a cooperative, FAO built a feed mill for the breeders. This was a turning point for Alvina; she decided to increase her production and raise 500 chickens.

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