Is a chicken farm in Africa profitable?

In Africa you don't know a chicken grill and certainly not the Vienna Woods. In Senegal, for example, the housewife chops the chicken, places it in a marinade of eight diced onions, hot peppers, bay leaf, ten lemons, two sprigs of thyme and pepper and roasts it on a charcoal grill. It is served with a sauce made from the marinade and white rice.

If Babacar G. has its way, hundreds of Senegalese housewives put chickens in a marinade every day - which of course it should be from his breeding. If they don't lay their golden eggs, then they should at least ensure his livelihood here in West Africa, a country without hope that he left in 2009 at the age of 26 to find happiness in Europe.

Why should he have stayed?

Why should he have stayed in his hometown, where only a few concrete and brick buildings grow out of dusty earth and there is not much to do for a trained bricklayer like him.

The adventurous story of the refugee Babacar G. begins in a village without hope in Senegal, leads him across karst fields in southern Italy, where he has to toil for a starvation wage as an illegal worker and for which he does not receive recognition but, as he reports today, racist hostility. She lets him make a stopover in Pullach, where he meets his guardian angel thanks to a stroke of luck.

And the story, if it's not a fairy tale, lets him get off the plane in his home town in March 2017 - full of ambition and plans, with a lot of wishes and advice in his luggage, but also with a wad of money, enough for the first steps on the way to starting a business. Hasn't he always wanted to set up a chicken farm?

At the beginning there are some hurdles to overcome

It is undoubtedly exciting to see if and how things are going with Babacar's chicken farm, and more and more people are following the development of the young West African with great interest. His guardian angel, the actress Hedwig Rost, reported to a larger audience in the Pullach community center about the adventure of her former pupil, which she had especially taken on during his refugee life in Pullach.

If everything continues to go so well, the audience could take it home with them, then the business start-up will have lasting success despite all the setbacks. Then, in addition to Babacar G., at least two other people will be permanently employed and have no reason to flee to Europe, and the efforts of the many helpful and generous helpers would have been worth it.

When Babacar G. turned his back on the house of his parents and siblings nine years ago, he knew that his family, who scraped together the last of the CFA francs for a visa and flight to Italy, would punish him with contempt if he were empty-handed as a failure should return. And that's what it looked like for a long time.

The Senegalese arrived in Germany in spring 2015, applied for asylum and arrived in Pullach in May, where he and 100 other refugees were accommodated in the sports hall. The fairytale motif of the enchanted tree, the fruits of which nobody can get at, is found in many African cultures.

Diligent and ambitious

The bricklayer from Senegal was also able to stretch and stretch himself, the happiness he longed for could not be grasped for him - in November 2016 the lawsuit against his deportation was dismissed. Under normal circumstances, Babacar B.'s dream of a fruitful life abroad would have ended here. If he hadn't met Hedwig Rost before.

The French-speaking actress gave German lessons to the West Africans and soon took a liking to the sympathetic, hardworking and ambitious Senegalese, took him under her wing and introduced him to the new world. In the end, she too could not prevent her pupil from receiving the rejection of his asylum application into the house, but she had prepared him for it.

"Madame Rost", as he calls her, persuaded him not to go underground as an illegal worker in Spain or France. Instead, she made a return to his homeland palatable to him, a return he would be able to make with his head held high, as a chicken farmer. "Madame Rost" obtained the start-up aid through appeals for donations to her "friends with a social conscience."

The good advice: no more than three children

When Babacar G. got on the plane in March, he was still aware of the condition under which Hedwig Rost gave him money and a plane ticket: she wanted to be informed about all commercial steps that her pupil was taking in his home country. Life, especially starting a business in Senegal, is expensive. The 900 square meter plot of land outside Dakar for chicken breeding alone cost 4700 euros, half of his start-up capital. Oh yes, she also gave him some benevolent advice on the journey home: only one woman, no more than three children.

Babacar G. keeps his sponsor and mentor up to date, just as he was instructed to do. He regularly sends her photos and even film recordings of his gradually growing chicken farm, and Hedwig Rost sends everything on to the donors by circular email. More and more people in Pullach are standing at the window to Africa and taking part in the weal and woe of the Senegalese. First he had to show his skills to his family, now his patrons, which he obviously likes to do. The first photos show him in an enclosure with a capacity of 600 chickens on the roof of his parents' house, together with his brother Mbacke and his friend Mamadou, who both want to bring the chicken production to bloom with him. It was only a temporary solution, the property first had to be acquired, and Babacar G. was "stupid", as Rost complained. He had not received anything in writing, with the result that he was ripped off by "a rascal". Instead of becoming the owner of a piece of land, he suddenly found himself with two spaces that were not connected. But the problem was finally resolved. "Yesterday he sent me a photo of a contract signed by the mayor," said Rost. "Africa is different, I noticed that. Here you don't think in terms of documents and contracts, this is where the palaver culture is at home, this is where the village community meets under the palaver tree," the helper now knows.

According to the calculation of your pupil, he would have to get to 2,500 to 3,000 chickens in order to be able to operate profitably. Hedwig Rost estimates that a total of around 20,000 euros would have to be invested in order for him to get that far. Three people could then make a living from it, that it is a sensible investment, "and that can be contagious," she says.

In her lecture at the Pullacher B├╝rgerhaus, Rost also reported on her trip to Senegal in July, on the warmth that Babacar's family gave her, from his sister Ndeye, 23, who studies international law - with financial support from her brothers, from his little one Niece, 13, who wants to become a gynecologist, from her conversations with women about polygamy, from his father, who has twelve children with his two wives, and finally also from the non-existent infrastructure in Babacar's hometown, which makes it difficult to set up a chicken farm. There is no water from the tap, he draws it from a hose and had to buy a pump for it. But recently the new Dakar airport opened nearby, and a new settlement and a school are also to be built here. "The electricity is getting closer," says Hedwig Rost. Fortunately, he has already reached the small shop in the town's shopping street, which the entrepreneur has rented, even though he was recently in the dark again. The landlady had turned off the electricity, forcing him to pay the previous tenant's old bill. Now electricity is flowing again, which is eminently important for him, as he can finally use his freezer, the donation from a woman from the southeastern district who has taken a liking to the African start-up entrepreneur, Hedwig Rost's project has supported from the beginning and has had a regular place at the window to Africa for a long time.

The women want to open a laundry

Two steps forward, one backward - only in the pilgrim step does Babacar G. advance. And one or the other time the 35-year-old will have imagined himself under an enchanted tree that he tirelessly waters, but not yet the fruits of which he cannot harvest. Establishing a chicken farm in the middle of Africa is of course also a daring undertaking. The continent has long been inundated with frozen chicken parts from EU countries, including Germany. Thousands of small farmers have already gone bankrupt because they cannot keep up with the cheap offers from Europe; as well as when they have to pay three to four euros for a single chick and the food is "staggeringly expensive", as Rost reports. The absurd thing about this situation: But Babacar G. now wants to make necessity a virtue and get into the feed trade himself. And not only that: he and his brother Mbacke want to rent a second shop. There the women want to open a "blanchisserie", a laundry. The washing machine, also a donation, had already been delivered with the freezer. There should also be a small bank there with an exchange office and money transfers. "I exchanged my euros in a shop like this in Dakar for washing powder and bananas," remembers Hedwig Rost. But it's 50 kilometers from Babacar's village to the Senegalese capital, far too far for a businessman without his own vehicle. Around 10,000 euros have already flowed into chicken breeding from Pullach, and at least another 8,000 euros can now be expected to buy a wagon. Without a vehicle, she fears, the entrepreneur will stop halfway. "There is still a big cry for help," announced Hedwig Rost.

The adventurous story of the refugee Babacar G. continues to keep the Pullach helpers in suspense. Lately they have been following the developments with crossed fingers: Babacar G. has fallen in love, has found a bride he would like to marry. Will he heed Madame Rost's advice (only one woman, no more than three children)? It remains exciting at the window on Africa.