Jerry Kalai, Nasuampum


What’s life after retirement? For Jerry Kalai, it meant a second innings! After 34 years in the financial industry, Jerry ventured into the unknown world of poultry business.

“I had a good job. I worked hard and made money for the shareholders. But now I am my own boss and I am the shareholder. I create employment through my SME and there is no greater satisfaction than that.”

30-minutes from Lae, along the Nadzab Highway, Jerry runs a chicken farm that supplies broilers to one of the biggest wholesalers in the country. At any given point of time, he has nearly 11,000 chickens. The 37-day cycle ensures that the chicken farmer is on his toes all day.

“There are minimum quality standards to adhere to – cleanliness, ventilation, sustained power and stockfeed. I upgraded my shed to meet these standards and continually improve operations.”

But power is a big issue. Incessant blackouts impact everyday operations. Instead of waiting for electricity to come to the farm, Jerry has set up his own generators. But these challenges of logistics, finances and infrastructure have claimed the businesses of other chicken farmers in the area, reducing the number of chicken farmers from 400 to only 100.

The pandemic has brought a new set of problems. Stockfeed for the chickens are not easily available and demand for chicken has gone down. “From price control to roads to electricity, we need government support to keep the poultry industry floating. The 100 farmers here employ 500 people, creating a mini economic hub.”

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