A small scale poultry programme, supporter by the World Bank in Kakamega County is spreading smiles across the faces of a tiny ward in Navakolo Sub-County.
Indeed the residents of Ingotse Ward, Navakholo sub-county, Kakamega County, have a reason to wear beaming faces. This is because they have been empowered economically since the national government, in liaison with the World Bank, has injected Sh.8.2 million into a hatchery.
A community driven project whose objective is to improve livelihoods in the area and possibly beyond the boundaries later, draws members from the electoral Ward; also attracting many other people in the county.
Here, poultry farming is a must for virtually every family. For the populace, the number of birds one has does not, traditionally, matter. What is key is that one can quickly fix a meal when a visitor lands or can sell eggs or mature birds when need arises.
According to the manager of the multi – million shilling project, Bonface Andika Inzofu, the project which was started to create a source of income for the people of Ingotse through production of chicks which are then distributed to its members to raise and later sell them.
To conceptualise and embrace this as business, the beneficiaries have been sensitised by various stakeholders in agri-business, says Inzofu.
But upon realisation that most people are struggling to feed the birds, he says, it has been resolved to also introduce and have in place a well managed micro-finance from where they get loans to finance their individual projects. Besides purchasing the day old chicks, they also buy poultry feeds.
Through this micro finance, members of Bidii Micro finance company who double up as members of Bidii Sacco and from the community can borrow a minimum loan of Sh.20, 000 and maximum of Sh.500, 000.
“The amount one takes as a loan is repaid at an interest rate of 2 per cent per month. Issuance of the loans depends on savings of applicants and membership period of the potential beneficiaries,” says Mr. Inzofu.
The hatchery produces the improved native birds which are on high demand in the hotels within the sub country and Kakamega County in general.
Through the incubator which has the capacity of hatching 5,000 chicks, this project attracts a larger populace in Kakamega County as residents appreciate benefits of poultry keeping.
Currently, the project has over 1000 members who benefit from the micro finance section through saving and borrowing of loans. The viability of this project is drawn from the ready market which the farmers access once they have raised the chicken, says the manager who notes that this is motivation to community members as farmers can earn while at home.
For those farmers raising layers; they can easily sell the eggs back to the hatchery for reproduction at a negotiable price, other than Sh.20 each, and later buy chicks to raise more poultry. The price is negotiable since some people want immediate payment once the eggs are delivered.
Members can also take loans to help finance their chicken projects to keep businesses running.
The manager says that they expect a higher membership which will, subsequently, help raise more money for capacity building and high production in terms of quantity.
Following the introduction of the hatchery, scores of people now walk around the village with poise.
One such person is 30 year old Joel Shirotsa, a beneficiary of the project who says that it has enabled him own several goats out of which he gets money to buy school uniform for his two children in a local primary school.
“Apart from this, I use the income to renew my National Hospital Insurance Fund. The latter is used by my wife and children, in case any of them falls sick,” says the youthful father while stroking his mustache.
By Bantaleo Muhindi