Agribusiness Partners

In Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, agri-businesses like AviMagas are thriving and expanding their operations to have an impact on their surrounding communities, better their families’ lives, and provide opportunities for the local workforce. TechnoServe’s Catalisa program teaches commercial poultry producers how to optimize their market strategies, remain operationally e­cient, and increase their pro‑ts through production at scale via one-on-one coaching.
Proprietário da AviMagas

Manuel Gabriel

Manuel Gabriel, also known by the name “Magas”, is a 43-year old business owner and CEO of AviMagas, a commercial egg production business with locations in Pemba and Montepuez. Manuel bene tted from Catalisa’s poultry nancing in 2019 and has continued to grow his egg production with the help of TechnoServe through continued business advisory services. The Catalisa team interviewed Manuel to highlight his success and plans for the future, during which he explained how his poultry business has transformed his life, as well as those of his family and surrounding community.

I started my path to entrepreneurship in di¬erent areas, mainly beginning with grocery shops. In 2012, I started poultry farming informally, and in 2018 I decided to legalize the activity, resulting in the creation of my company. In the same year I started knocking on several doors to see if I could get some start-up funding, and in 2019 received a grant from TechnoServe through Catalisa. Before Catalisa, I had two employees and after the funding managed to expand my poultry farm for egg production, increasing the number of workers.

Manuel was able to improve his business by increasing his  production, but also by taking advantage of new technolo-  gies through the advice of Catalisa’s technical team, in order  to improve quality. “I improved my technology, as I stopped  using a rudimentary system based on drinkers and feeders  on the floor, and managed to obtain cages and 5,000 layers  to start in Pemba. Over time, I realized that the space in Pemba was small so I  decided to move to Montepuez, where I am now operating  in the poultry value chain. I am experiencing great growth  currently compared to 5 years ago, both in production and  in the social component of the company, which has opened  many doors for me.”

Manuel went on to explain that he enjoys the business  currently and remains very busy. His daily routine consists of  checking in with his fellow managers and accountants, and  making sure everything is in order. A key portion of AviMa-  gas’ operations includes controlling the feed stock and  supply planning on a daily basis. “In this business, if you stay  one day without feeding the birds, you will have 6 more days  without producing any eggs. For a company like this, that is  a big fail, so my daily routine is complex, as I have to see what  I’m going to sell, how I’m going to sell it, what exactly I have  to do to sell it, and then execute accordingly.”

In the interview, Manuel stressed the importance of staying  on top of his business and remaining diligent, as others’ lives  depend on his expertise. “In our business I don’t relax, and I  don’t think that I’m going to rest for a while. If what I’ve sold  is enough to buy more feed and give continuity, and enough  to pay my 12 workers, as well as monthly finances such as  INSS, then we have a routine, and one more circuit is closed  to continue with success. Now we are planning for the  future, in this case the end of the year, and we have to start  another construction, a little faster to see if it is possible to  bring the cages that are in Pemba in order to increase  production. With the production that we have at this  moment and with the demand that we have in the market,  we have a lot of room for growth. The demand is very large  and we even have future sales locked in, so the production  of tomorrow will be paid today, and this encourages us to  continue growing.”

He has a vision for the future to continue expanding, and is very optimistic about the possibility of scaling based on  growing market demand, as the egg production in Cabo  Delgado is still not sufficient to fill the market’s needs. “We  started with a production of 200 chickens when we were  informal. We went up to 300, then 600, then 1000, and then  we had some complications, which is when we changed our  business from broilers to layers. At this moment the produc-  tion of layers is bringing us a very large horizon and we now  have an aviary, so our idea is that by the end of this year, we  will have another aviary to reach 15,000 – 17,000 layers, and  in 5 years we will scale to at least 50,000 eggs per day.”

However, running a poultry business in Cabo Delgado is not  easy, and often times financial planning and operational  efficiencies are the drivers of success, given the sensitivity of  the livestock. “The only big constraint we have is the large  volumes of money that the business needs to feed the chick-  ens. The feed is very expensive, almost 80% of the costs of  egg production comes from feed and makes the compo-  nents of the operational costs very high, and the profits a  little bit lower, so it really functions well at scale and not in  small volumes.

We are talking about having many workers, having big  expenses with energy and water, expenses with transporta-  tion, so these components we try to minimize at least to see  if it is possible to turn a higher profit. The business is growing  more and more, and many people come here to compliment  our growth, but we do not feel this because what we want is  to have much bigger production in 5 years, so we do not  stop,” explained Manuel.

It’s a great feeling to hear a worker say, Look, I was able to build a house, I was able to buy a motorcycle, and I can now ride a motorcycle, thanks to the work at AviMAgas. I feel self-realized with the creation of the company, and I am creating good social impact, for myself, for my family, and for my community.

One of the components of his business which encourages Manuel to continue growing is the impact on his community and the jobs that he is able to provide to his colleagues. “When we were informal, we only had two workers and we did not pay INSS. When we legalized the business we entered the process in an aggressive way to also respond to the requirements of many competitions, and this helped the company grow in terms of workers.

So, with the support we had, we grew from 2 to 6, then 6 to 10, and eventually managed to have 12 workers. Of these 12 workers we are talking about some workers that are ‑xed, for which we pay INSS, but we have also had occasional workers for jobs like cleaning, and on average we support around 30-40 workers and this brings some economic impact to the community.