In October 2007, eMi Canada sent a project team to Ndola, Zambia. What follows is a testimonial from Pastor Derek Mutungu of the Royal Poultry Centre (RPC), which eMi went to serve:
Designing a World Hope in an African Village!
It is not flattery. When [the] Engineering Ministries International team arrived on Zambian soil October 2006 I felt like [I was] receiving a cold cup of water on an October day. It is Zambia’s hottest month. I had endured the heat for a good seven years. They refreshed my heart.
Eight stout men (two of them with their wives); an architect, one mechanical, two electrical, one environmental, two civil engineers and a construction engineer cum business analyst; squeezed in a shallow Mitsubishi RVR and headed off for Ndola. For 10 days they combed technical details of our Company’s operational plan.
Thankfully, they belong to a cluster of technology, agriculture, financial and business experts, both local and international, [which] the Lord has assembled over the years [to] showcase his answers to the heart cries of our people.
Clearly the Lord is committed. We must generate high protein foods affordable among very low income families. Simultaneously we are to commercialize small scale and village farming. This is his double barreled mandate to Royal Poultry Company (RPC). To achieve it, we have devised an integrated production model. Village farmed broiler chickens and organic fertilizers will be our main lines.
It’s a tough assignment - like creating a mountain out of the blue. As the huge mandate evolved we had no money, paltry experience, meager agro-tech expertise, no car, no building. But God said, “do it!” We had to obey.
Little by little over the long years, the Lord shaped our kingdom entrepreneurial paradigm, trickled in the capital, and lined up expertise. eMi is among the latter. Their technical analysis of our concept handily: -
- Affirmed our pro-poor entrepreneurial vision.
- Shaved off costly mistakes on where to site our operations.
- Exposed us to cost-effective processing technologies.
- Optimized our launch and growth strategy.
- Proposed a financing model unencumbered with conditionalities likely to frustrate the radical kingdom paradigm we’re compelled to create.
The eMi technical team didn’t leave the architectural drawings they eagerly wanted to. But they offered their friendship, endorsed our vision, pledged long term support and showed us key tactics.
The project has stalled due to lack of capitalization support. But we are undaunted. Now we have started employing the financing model they recommended - multiplying the little seed capital that trickled our way in the last half of 2007.
Poverty is the fundamental plight in [our] land. It breeds other ills. Poor nutrition is among them and it afflicts most severely families in high population communities. Yet they carry the highest disease burden. That is why the Lord wants us to act now.
For us balanced diets are the first anti-retroviral therapy. However, we don’t believe Africa’s ills will be solved through handouts. By offering stable markets, consolidating products from small scale players, processing them into high quality world class foodstuffs and rigorously applying a kingdom ethic that includes paying on time, we shall empower the poor to feed the poor affordably.
Our economic engine may not just raise the nutritional status of low income families. It will also enable numerous small scale entrepreneurs earn a living. Among these are women and men in the same depressed communities. We’ve begun grooming a few of these into marketers for our natural protein products.
Interestingly, one of our local partner agencies in a village 70 kilometers away, has offered us 40 hectares of land free. It will host RPC and related operations. This is literally the poor lifting themselves from poverty, but not without strategic partnership like eMi offers.
Now that land has become available, we trust eMi will return to Zambia and leave behind cutting edge engineering and architectural trends. Thank you eMi for rallying to design a world of hope for our people.
Pastor Derek Mutungu