Poultry farmers in Kakamega County have received 48,000 improved chicks from the County government in a bid to raise income at a time when76,000 farmers have abandoned sugarcane farming the county driven by failure of Mumias Sugar factory to pay them Sh600m dues accrued over the last two years.
In this, 120 farmer groups have received 400 one month-old chicks complete with a poultry disease schedule to guide them in the production. 92 per cent of households in Kakamega currently rear chicken but only for subsistence purposes. The county thus is promoting commercial poultry production.
Some of the groups that have benefited include Eshirimbe Tuinuke Community Based Organization, Murhanda Cooperative Group, Munchete Women’s Group, and Down Valley Women’s Group among others.
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Farmers examine kuroiler chicks. Courtesy
According to the Kenya National Federation of Sugarcane Farmers, cane planters in the region have uprooted the crop leaving only 20,000 farmers still engaged and as such the county is moving in to ensure farmers diversify their sources of income through chicken farming.
Besides cane, other crops grown in the county are maize, cassava, finger millet, beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, tea and sorghum.
Farmers will reap returns quickly from chicken farming compared to cane. Layers for instance take only three times to start laying eggs while broilers are ready for slaughtering at approximately 35 to 49 days. Sugarcane on the other hand takes one and half years to mature ready for harvesting.
Kenya has an estimated poultry population of 31m birds. Of these, 75 per cent consist of indigenous chicken, 22 per cent of broilers and layers and one per cent of breeding stock. The traditional chicken is mostly kept in rural areas while layers and broilers are mainly reared in the urban areas.