The County Government of Nakuru is seeking to create a Kshs. 3 billion poultry industry in a programme which targets youth, women and disabled persons in the county.
24 women groups and disabled persons groups in Dundori Ward have become the latest beneficiaries of the Kshs. 16 million programme.
Dundori Ward Member of County Assembly Michael Machembu Chege has said the project which aims at improving breeding and multiplication of indigenous chicken has so far seen 13 youth and women groups received 1,800 chicks of improved indigenous chicken under the ‘Improved Local Chicken Stimulus Project for economic vitality.
He noted that the project is designed to shore up rural economies while ensuring the use of limited available space to feed the growing population in fast-growing urban centers in the region in the spirit of achieving food security and nutrition as well as create employment.
Machembu said the idea of the initiative is also to improve the livelihoods of Nakuru people mainly through women and youth.
The project will enable them to take care of the needs of their families. It will also help them pay school fees for their children.
The program`s coordinator in Bahati Ward, Stanley Kibet said the program targets to have farmers rear improved indigenous Chicken varieties that start laying eggs only five months after being hatched and produce an average meat weight of 1.5kg, while a rooster should weigh at least 2kg.
“Farmers are expected to use the dual purpose breeds to improve their local chicken in addition to increasing their production. This will address challenges of poor breeds, low production while generating income for the communities,” stated Mr. Kibet.
To ensure that the smallholder farmers realize optimum production, the county government has attached a veterinary and a livestock extension officer to the project who will equip the breeders with necessary technical advice such as how to feed the birds and administer vaccines.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that Kenya has an estimated poultry population of 31 million birds.
Out of these, 75% consist of indigenous chicken, 22% of broilers and layers and 1% of breeding stock.
The traditional chicken is mostly kept in rural areas while layers and broilers are mainly reared in the urban areas.
Kibet said 110 Cooperative societies in the County have received 96 automatic chicken incubators and backup generators valued at Kshs. 6.8 million, while in Bahati Sub-County 6 poultry farmers’ cooperatives had each received a 3,200 egg capacity incubator to boost their operations.
“Nakuru now has approximately 1.5 million indigenous chicken, 18,300 improved indigenous breed, 212,200 layers, 275,900 broilers, 44,000 turkeys, 73,000 ducks and 14,500 geese.
The County is exploring the possibility of intensifying poultry vaccination in order to cushion small-scale farmers against the high vaccination costs as well as the high disease outbreaks” stated Kibet.
Beneficiaries commended the local government for the initiative saying it will help cushion poor households against poverty at a time the country is grappling with economic hardships amid the Covid-19 aftershock.
Last year, poultry farmers in Nakuru County netted Kshs. 875 million from the sale of 67 million eggs.
A further Kshs. 489 million was earned from sale of 825 tons and 340 tons of chicken and turkey meat respectively.
The figure will exceed Kshs. 3 billion if farmers receive disease resistant birds with fast maturity.