Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru on Wednesday launched a project that will enable farmers to produce Ksh 1 million eggs per month earning each of them Ksh 1,000 daily.
The eggs project involves 32 community groups each rearing 1,250 layers and has an impact on about 640 households.
The project is one of the agricultural value chains that the County Government is implementing through ‘Wezesha Kirinyaga’ economic stimulus program aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and profitability in the county.
The project was informed by the huge deficit in egg production in Kenya which for a long time has led to the importation of eggs from neighbouring countries such as Uganda.
After President Uhuru Kenyatta sealed loopholes that previously led to an influx of illegal importation of eggs, the country is now facing a shortage in supply of eggs.
To ensure that the farmers got only the right breed of layers, the county government acquired chicks from a certified breeder on behalf of the groups.
A total of 40,000 chicks were delivered to the groups in March and have now matured into layers with about 100,000 eggs having already been collected in the past week.
The layers are, however, expected to attain optimum laying capacity from September.
“Wezesha poultry project is aimed at improving livelihoods of Kirinyaga people mainly through women and youth and also offers alternative income source thereby reducing overreliance on the conventional cash crop farming,” Governor Waiguru said during the launch which took place at Kirinyaga Agricultural Training Center (KATC) animal production unit at Kiaga.
The governor pointed out that the returns from the eggs will enable farmers to cater for their families and still allow them to engage in other income-generating activities since the group project does not take a lot of their time.
Once the eggs are harvested, they are collected and taken to the cold storage facility at Kiaga for packaging and branding before being taken to the market. The storage facility handles around 3,500 trays of eggs at a given time.
The County Government through Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (KIDA) sells all the eggs on behalf of the farmers thereby guaranteeing returns for farmers.
Waiguru said that the county government already identified buyers who include local egg distributors and there is still a huge demand for the eggs.
To ensure that the farmers access affordable and quality feeds, the County Government has been distributing to farmers certified chicken feeds manufactured at Kirinyaga Agricultural Training Center animal production unit located at Kiaga.
The feeds factory has so far produced 6,828 bags equal to 478 tons of feeds which have been distributed to the farmers at various development stages of the chicken.
While day-to-day running of the project is done by the group members, the county’s veterinary and livestock extension officers attached to the project offer the necessary technical support to farmers to ensure success.
The county government is extending the project to benefit more households with 42 more groups having been incorporated for the second phase of the project.
Other agricultural value chains under Wezesha Kirinyaga are avocado, dairy and tomato production.
The tomato value chain involves community groups that the county government is supporting in clean and disease tolerant seed production and alternative pest control and management systems.
It is tied to a proposed tomato processing plant that will address the challenge of post-harvest loses in one of the largest tomato producing counties where more than 50 tons of tomatoes are produced annually.
The avocado value chain involves supporting farmers groups to increase production through the distribution of certified avocado seedlings.
It is tied to a proposed packhouse where the avocados will be packaged and branded before being marketed as Kirinyaga produce.
Demand for Kenyan avocado had been rising by the day and this creates an avenue for farmers to capitalize on avocado farming.
The dairy production value chain is aimed at increasing dairy production in the county by supporting farmers on farm-feed production, promotion of technology such as Artificial Insemination (AI) and establishment of milk collection and cooling facilities.
This project is tied to a proposed county milk processing plant. The project aims at enhancing milk production to 50,000 litres per day from the current 20,000 litres.