A section of Kenyan poultry farmers are now using crushed pawpaw seeds to cure intestinal worms and the fatal Coccidiosis chicken disease responsible for over 50 percent of poultry deaths after a visit from a Togolese farmer where the practice has been perfected.
The trial in Togo returned impressive results by halving poultry deaths in Kara and Kpalime villages that are predominantly into poultry farming.
To cure worms, scientists gave chickens three grams of powdered papaya seeds for every kilogram of live weight. This dose was repeated for two days. Treating coccidioides requires a higher dose over a longer period of time. Chickens were cured with 3.5 grams of powdered papaya seeds for every kilogram of live weight, given for six consecutive days.
“It was a disaster no one would want to relive. I personally lost close to three quarters of my 300 chicken that I relied on for my income and that of my household. It is a tragedy that I have never recovered from even financially because I had invested a lot on it. But the pawpaw seeds discovery has not only assisted us with the medicine but inspired sale of pawpaws which is picking up well,”said Herve Komi a Togolese farmer who is in Kenya for a farmer exchange programme for a second time to monitor how fellow farmers are progressing with the project. The farmer exchange programme is organized by the agricultural not for profit organization, Brigdgenet International.
Avian coccidiosis is the most costly and wide-spread parasitic disease in the poultry industry, and has been mainly controlled by the use of chemotherapeutic agents. But the disease is particularly hard to contain once there is an outbreak, because of the emergence of drug-resistant strains.
The farmers crush the seeds and either mix them with the poultry feed or water. “I give my chicken a dose twice a day, in the morning when am feeding them, and also mix it with water late afternoon. I no longer see the need for conventional livestock treatment for my poultry,”said Mrs Bertha Wanyotu a farmer in Ndumberi.
But this has put the farmers on a collision course with local agrovet dealers who they(the agrovets) blame for their dwindling sales since the introduction of the seeds cure. One agrovet dealer even swore never to sell any of his stock to any farmer who had embraced seeds cure. “This is becoming too much. These funny discoveries are pushing us out of the markets. I have lost like 50 customers now. Its not that I dont wish them well, by all means I do, but who told them they are effective?,”asked an angry Muheria Mwotio agrovet dealer in Ndumberi. Muheria is bitter about a similar discovery sometime back in the country from a tree that has been growing wildly dubbed Tephrosia, which was proven to rid livestock off ticks faster than conventional acaricides for as cheap as Sh10.
Written by Bob Koigi for African Laughter