Hira Rai worked as a driver for several years but the money he earned from long hours of driving was never enough to support his family. Frustrated, Rai decided to go abroad to try his luck. However, two years later, his family still suffered and lived from hand to mouth. Rai returned to Nepal, disappointed once again. But all hope was not lost. Fortunately for Rai, his younger brother had been doing pig farming for ten years. His brother had started in a small scale and by the time Rai returned to Nepal, his brother already had over 200 pigs at his farm. Same year, his brother had made a profit of Rs. 30 lakhs which also triggered Rai’s interest in the sector. Rai had brought 5 lakhs rupees with him when he returned to Nepal and was thinking about investing in the agriculture sector. Seeing his brother’s success Rai realized the huge market potential and he quickly consulted his brother. After much thought and consideration, Rai decided to start his own pig farm.
Rai started the farm with an initial investment of about 5 lakhs. Initially, his brother advised him on building the pigpens, feeding the pigs and taking care of them. He started his farm with 20 pigs and had a good income. He says that he was always confident of his success because he had a brother who was of constant support to him. He says that starting his own farm was not much of a risk for him.
In 2013 when he shifted his farm from Kathmandu to Kavre, he adopted the integrated pig farming approach and ventured into poultry and fish farming and has been successfully running all of his ventures. His family supports his work and helps him in managing the farms.
2015 was a tough year for most of the pig farmers in Nepal. Rumors of swine flu had filled his consumers with dread and sale of pig meat dropped to an all time low. Similarly, the economic blockade caused great losses to his farm. That year he suffered a loss of around 10 lakhs rupees. But rather than being beat up about it, Rai decided not to give up. Today, pig farming is thriving again and the business is in a great shape. Rai owns 84 pigs in his farm. He has already recovered his investment and his farm has been heading towards profit.
Rai says the aspiring pig farmers should consult with successful pig farmers in their areas rather than referring to livestock books and manuals. Most of the books available in the market only offer superficial knowledge but the sector is very different in the real setting so consulting real farmers is a must. The market has a lot of space for new entrepreneurs in the sector so the established pig farmers do not feel intimidated with new arrivals and are usually happy to help. Through this story, he also wants to tell the aspiring entrepreneurs that they can always come to him if they need any help regarding the sector. With a lot of pride and the feeling of gratitude towards his younger brother, he said that not everyone has a younger brother to look up to. The success came to him through his hard work and dedication but the fact that it was his brother who helped him get into this sector and remained of constant support to him are the two major reasons why he believes this would not have been possible if it was not for his brother.
He added, the aspiring entrepreneurs should learn the skills of pig farming and understand how the market works before investing in the sector. The market demand for pigs keeps fluctuating so, he believes in starting in a small scale and scaling up rather than starting in a large scale. Failing when the stakes are high often does not give the entrepreneur a second chance for recovery so he highly discourages large scale investments unless one has in-depth knowledge about the sector.
Lastly, Hira Rai says that success is only possible if the aspiring entrepreneurs learn to be calm and patient. Dedication and hard work are highly driven by belief so on top of everything that the sector demands, one needs to have faith in his venture. Success will come eventually.