Behind the eighth of an acre farm in Sigona area is the story of a farmer who has learnt to maximize a small land and diversify in farming by rearing chickens ,rabbits, and farming onions, strawberries, and vegetables.
Amos Ndung'u the owner of Sigona Rabbit and Poultry Farm, and former telecommunications technician at Zain decided to steer off investment options that were a favourite among his friends like investing in shares and real estate. He never regretted. His farm located near the Nakuru-Nairobi highway has become a model farm with farmers from as far as Japan and Britain visiting him to learn about the success of his venture.
The farm is home to 200 different rabbit breeds and 300 birds. Some of the rabbit breeds include Angora, Chinchilla Earlops and New Zealand among others while birds like guinea fowls, bantams, doves and Kienyeji chickens can also be found there. But it is the way that birds and rabbits are housed that catches everyone's attention.
Rabbits are housed in a one-storey cage which has been raised a metre from the ground to keep off rodents.
A slanting polythene paper that sits between the lower and upper floors harvests the urine while ensuring that the waste from rabbits in the upper floor doesnt harm those in the lower floor. “This is one of the easisest ways to rear rabbits and poultry and that is why I went for it. I dont have to worry about space as I would if I was rearing cows,” he said. The structures are made of various materials including wire mesh, iron sheets, cement and wood. He has perfected the art of making the cages, which is now seeing him turn it into a business venture. He sells the cages and pens at Sh5,000.
Based on the breed of the rabbit he sells rabbits at between Sh3500 and Sh4,000 with the rabbit meat going at Sh600 a kilo and rabbit manure at Sh300 for a 50 kilo bag. “That is the other beauty of rearing the rabbits. It means there is so much you can earn from the rabbit. I also sell the urine and the skin. By the time you are selling the rabbit and its components you have earned something to the tune of between Sh6,000 and Sh8,000,” he added. His chickens go for Sh1,000 with a tray of eggs selling at Sh500 and Sh1000 for the fertilized ones. “But it is not always rosy in this venture. One needs to know that these two livestock are the most sensitive to feeding and hygiene. A farmer intending to try their hand in rearing them must equally invest a lot in taking care of them and feeding them well. This for example means having a veterinary officer checking the status of the livestock even when they are healthy. Diseases like Newcastle in birds can wipe them within minutes,” Amos said.
And to further utilize his farm and take advantage of any remaining space, Amos is also growing vegetables like onions, spinach and strawberries through plastic pipes. He fills the soil in the pipes having mixed it with fertilizers, water the pipes then plant the seedlings. He is able to earn up to Sh20,000 a month from the sale of the vegetables and strawberries.
“It is an open secret that we no longer have enough land. But we have to keep our people fed. So the idea is to get smart and learn to optimize small pieces of land. Demand for food is rising. We need to focus on how we can meet it despite dwindling land for cultivation,” he said.
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