Elizabeth Christopher Swai: Pioneering Poultry Farming in Tanzania Against All Odds

By KilimoKwanza.org

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Behind thriving AKM Glitters Company Limited is Elizabeth Christopher Swai, a woman whose journey is nothing short of inspirational.

Elizabeth’s story begins with a bold decision that stunned many — resigning from a secure job to pursue her passion in the poultry business. It was a move that cost her friendships and even her marriage, as her husband failed to share her vision. Yet, Elizabeth remained undeterred, driven by a belief in her project’s potential.

AKM Glitters flourished, initially exceeding expectations. However, the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 posed unprecedented challenges. The company’s director of production was stranded overseas due to lockdowns, and vital parent stock from India couldn’t be imported. Production plummeted from 250,000 chickens weekly to operating at just 30% capacity, leaving incubators empty and revenue streams significantly impacted.

Faced with these hardships, Elizabeth showcased her leadership and innovation. She secured a loan from the Dar es Salaam Commercial Bank to mitigate revenue losses and invested in a call center and mobile services to maintain close communication with her farmers. Her daily calls with staff weren’t just about business; they were sessions of mentorship and reassurance during uncertain times.

Elizabeth’s journey is also a testament to the challenges faced by women in Tanzania’s business sector, particularly in industries dominated by men. Despite facing negative comments and competitive challenges, she has emerged as the largest female poultry producer in the country. Her success is supported by the Ministry of Livestock and by male colleagues who respect and aid her vision without any expectations.

Swai’s story is more than just a tale of business acumen; it’s about breaking barriers, fostering resilience, and inspiring change. Her journey with AKM Glitters serves as a beacon to women in Tanzania and beyond, showing that with determination and self-belief, even the toughest challenges can be overcome.

For more inspiring stories about agriculture and innovation in Tanzania, visit KilimoKwanza.org.