Kiambu County government last week organized a two-day expo that addressed benefits, challenges and working solutions to poultry farmers.
The event held at the Ndumberi stadium saw farmers getting advice from various experts on embracing poultry as a business opportunity to supplement their income and promote economic sustenance.
David Wamwea, Kiambu County Executive for Trade, Industrialization, Tourism, Investment and Cooperative Development said poultry is already providing over 1500 job opportunities to Kiambu residents although this is not enough considering a big percentage of the youth are unemployed and do not have income.
“I want to urge the youth to embrace poultry farming as a hustle as it can earn them good money since it is considered as one of the most promising agri-food industry fostering sustainable growth and contribute to poverty reduction,” he added.
Wamwea noted that Kiambu is ranked number eight (8) in terms of supply of eggs in the country and the position can even bettered if the Kiambu farmers’ Cooperative society continues to help especially the youth in venturing into the business and ensuring that there is an upward trend of egg and meat production.
The society has been providing low interest loans of 7 percent therefore allowing more people to venture into poultry farming. “A farmer who rears 1,500 chickens can approximately earn Sh3,000 per day and Sh50,000 per month as the net salary,” the CEC said.
Apart from egg and meat production, poultry products have other benefits and are also instrumental in vaccine preparation, providing farmers with organic fertilizers, making feather pillows, cushions, and mattresses. Consequently, the venture has little to no waste hence economical.
Despite the profit margin and creation of jobs that can come into this industry, experts warn that poultry farming is also riddled with several challenges including, high cost of feed, maintenance and diseases.
Chicken layers mash and growers mash are relatively expensive and affects the overall expense for poultry farming. Currently a bag of grower’s mash is ranging at Sh1,800 and that of layers, mash is at Sh1,950.
Wamwea advised farmers to venture into making their own poultry feeds saying this will see the cost of production go lower and therefore maximizing profits.
“Poultry feeds can be made using whole maize meal, maize bran and soya. Making the feed is easy and only needs one to mix the ingredients with a shovel or stick,” he said adding that the government has given a tax waiver to local feed manufacturers in an attempt to lower the price and also assist the farmers.
Overall, Wamwea said that Farmers should start giving their birds necessary treatment and also give them vitamins so as to get good products that are ready for the market. Poultry farming, when done right, will help cushion farmers against the rising economy hence it is a business worth venturing into.
Dr Fred Otieno from Atlantis life science that deals with manufacturing and distribution of veterinary products urged farmers to access a wide array of medications including vaccines, antibiotics that can protect their poultry against disease.
“Some of the available medications in Kiambu are Biosec, solvita, vigorex, vitacom, vigoboost layers and Vigoboost broilers,” he said giving an example of some medication such as Biosec which have a component known as selenium that is responsible for the body immunity in chickens.
He further said that Atlantic life science has come up with two antibacterial that are Abidoxyl and Doxycycline that acts against bacteria that causes respiratory infections example and diarrhea in birds.
Otieno noted that overall chicken maintenance which is one of the major problems that affects farmers should be easily addressed by cleaning and disinfecting the chicken cages once a week to promote a healthy environment and this minimizes the risk of diseases.
Maryanne Mwende, one of the poultry farmers who participated in the expo, told KNA that she had really learnt a lot from the expo and called upon the County government to introduce and carry out more such expos in order for farmers to participate and learn.
“I have learnt a lot and I will ensure I make the necessary changes in how am rearing my chicken so as to be able to get the good quality products and make more money,” she said.
In terms of poultry population, Kikuyu Division in Kiambu County leads in both total population of poultry and also manufactured layers.
The current poultry kept in Kenya is not enough to sustain the always rising demand of poultry products in Kenya. Poultry in Kenya has also become a lucrative business.
By Yvonne Njoki and Joy Mwangi