My wife and I dropped by the farm earlier today.
Whilst the goat shed is almost completed, there are still a number of items to be done. The fencing, the planting of geti and petai belalang trees, the store room, water tanks, electricity connections and general cleaning works should round it up.
The Napier grass will be planted next week and should be ready for harvest once the first intake of goats arrive.
The geti and petai belalang trees are in a nursery now and will be transplanted all around the farm where bunds have been built. The leaves provide a rich source of food the goats love. (I could not find any web references for the geti trees. Both are local generic names).
So far the target date of 5th April 08 for the thanksgiving / opening “kenduri” appears to be on track.
The development budget for the farm has been exceeded. I am not that concerned, as none of the people involved, Zai, my wife or myself have ever set up a farm in our lives. I always had this contingency in mind from day one.
Operating expenses have been budgeted at a base of 1000 per month. Our cash breakeven would be selling about 5- 6 goats per month, something that we feel can be reasonably easily done.
In my mind, more important than this financial target are the operating targets. Like setting up and adhering to clear cut and understood systems for bringing in the goats, feeding them, tending them when sick, tending to pregnant goats and deliveries, looking after the young, maintaining goat records per goat and maintaining farm daily records.
And of course, marketing, logistics and sales.
I am using my Ghana experience as a benchmark. Despite all our initial studies, we still got taken in by a number of small issues that most people would overlook in doing feasibility studies. Like all payments to be in cash and not by cheques. Like payment for house rental one year in advance. As our ground knowledge increased, so did our ability to negotiate better and much more reasonable terms.
The rest of the year from 5th April 08 shall be dedicated to honing our skills in these activities.
We are intending to bring in only 20 – 30 females and 2 males to start with, whilst our learning process is going on.
To ramp up capacity once we are comfortable should be relatively easy to do.
The side or non monetary benefit of the farm is that all, or rather, most children like visiting farms and playing with young animals. Today, our son, Abang came with us for the visit and we are sure the younger two girls will also join us from time to time. At least this takes away their attention from video games and such and allow them additional outdoor activities.