Goat-breeder teaches lesson in self-reliance

National 2 minutes, 51 seconds

BELAIT

A LOCAL goat breeder in Kg Sg Lalit has called for more Bruneian youth to take the leap in starting an enterprise, while urging them not to be too reliant on government assistance for their businesses.

"I am saying that young people should take up ventures like these because now is the time when you still have energy and health. You can never predict your situation when you get older; perhaps you may not be as strong as you are now, or not as motivated," said Zaidine Hj Zabaidi of ZAF Agriculture Farming.

The young man in his 30s, who also holds down a job with a private oil and gas company, was speaking to The Brunei Times after delivering a briefing about his business to a group of retiring civil servants visiting his home and goat farm in Kg Sg Lalit as part of a retirement preparatory course.

While it a suitable venture for retirees due to its requirement of time and attention at start up, Zaidine believes that enterprises such as goat-breeding hold a lot of potential for local Bruneians willing to invest time and effort in a long-term business, particularly in Malay Muslim majority Brunei.

"Alhamdulillah, there are regular requests for goats from the local people nearby in the village. It isn't merely during Hari Raya (Aidil Adha) that we can sell goats. We Bruneians are a cultural and religious people, and it is very common for us to hold Aqiqah (sacrifice of an animal, usually a goat, on the occasion of a child's birth) ceremonies, so that is where most of my business comes from," he said.

Describing his initial investment of between $5,000 to $8,000 for a starting herd of 12 goats (to its current total of over 50), including the enclosure used to house them, Zaidine said that after seven years, his business is now comfortably earning enough to have returned to him his initial outlay. The breeder said people not to be put off by the nature of goat-breeding, which sees returns in a period of years, requiring patience and commitment from a potential entrepreneur.

"It is different from chicken farming, where you can get an adult chicken in as early as 40 days. A goat matures within two to three years… and husbandry can get you a kid from each female goat in the same period. You only see long-term returns, but once you have the breeding going, you will always have the herd to support your descendants… I consider that I am building a future for my family, for the next generation," he added.

Although he credits much of his success to the support from the government, through the agriculture department, Zaidine insists that self-initiative is a requirement for success. Despite support from the government, for example in health checks and vaccinations, he would then seek additional external assistance, including purchasing vaccines and seeking advice on his own.

"Facebook has been a real eye-opener. Ever since I put up my page on Facebook, I have been getting support from breeders in Borneo, and even from Peninsular Malaysia and mainland Indonesia… The government supports us a lot but we cannot merely rely on them for everything. We must be resourceful," said Zaidine.

"Honestly speaking, we are doing it on much a much smaller scale when compared with breeders in neighbouring countries. To them, we are small-time entrepreneurs… If they can do it, why not us Bruneians?"

The Brunei Times