News and knowhow for farmers

Kisumu teacher builds model mixed farm with little savings

Nyamabaja ornamental birds

When Ant­ony Okoth Ogal gradu­ated in 2016 from St. Paul’s Nyabur­uru Teach­ers Train­ing Col­lege as P1 teacher he knew em­ploy­ment was just around the corner. However, this was not to be as he was forced into hust­ling jobs which would later usher him into mixed farm­ing, a ven­ture which has seen him cre­ate own firm and a youth group for train­ing and ment­or­ship.

“After gradu­ation a was forced into part-time jobs as a teacher in some primary school academies where I would work for a chain of em­ploy­ers mak­ing my pay­ments a bit dif­fi­cult as it had to pass through a series of chan­nels.” Said Ant­ony.

Dur­ing these part-time en­gage­ments in 2017, he de­cided to spend Sh4,000 part of his sav­ings to buy a buck (male rab­bit) and four fe­male (doe) rab­bits of White New Zea­l­and breed after learn­ing the art of keep­ing the an­im­als from a friend. He kept the an­im­als at a small piece of plot in Kisumu.

Within a short period, the fe­male rab­bits had given birth to their first gen­er­a­tion of over 100 kits and in five months of well feed­ing and care, they had at­tained four kilos of live meat.  He would later in the year get a buyer from Nairobi who offered Sh1,000 each.

“My first cus­tomer was a doc­tor who wanted white meat for his dia­betic pa­tient and rab­bit meat was re­com­men­ded and that is how I got my mar­ket as the doc­tor needed a steady sup­ply for a given time,” said Ant­ony.

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Re­trenched civil ser­vant finds a soft land­ing in mixed farm­ing

At the end of the period, he earned Sh100,000 after selling 100 rab­bits, the ma­jor­ity being bucks and left 14 does for fur­ther breed­ing. This en­cour­aged him into farm­ing.

Be­gin­ning in 2018, Ant­ony par­ted ways with a teach­ing job and star­ted fo­cus­ing on breed­ing rab­bits and giv­ing for free to in­ter­ested farm­ers after teach­ing them on feed­ing and care. He ended up giv­ing away the 14 re­main­ing an­im­als to 12 farm­ers whom he would link to mar­kets upon the ma­tur­ity of their flocks.

He has since turned to local mar­kets to sell rab­bit meat as there is a need for en­riched nu­tri­tion among res­id­ents hav­ing con­duc­ted aware­ness about the be­ne­fit of rab­bit meat cre­at­ing the high de­mand.

“I no longer far-fetch mar­kets when there is a de­mand for nu­tri­tious food in the sur­round­ing com­munity. Our people need this meat even more, for pur­poses of food se­cur­ity,” said the farmer.

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Pro­ject lifts Cent­ral Kenya farm­ers through mixed farm­ing

He has so far star­ted Nyolo Nyam­baja Farm, an Ag­ri­cul­tural Com­pany which is also op­er­at­ing as a learn­ing in­sti­tu­tion and an ag­ribusi­ness centre at Dunga in Kisumu as its headquarter and Man­yatta and Nyakach as branches.

The firm also hosts a youth group, Nyam­baja Youth Group which is work­ing on vari­ous pro­jects such as aquacul­ture, poultry farm­ing, rear­ing of dogs (Ger­man Shep­herd), dairy goats (saneel breed) and dairy cows rear­ing.

The group also pro­duces man­goes which they mar­ket within and out­side Kisumu County.

Cur­rently mar­ket­ing the com­pany has be­come so easy with the rear­ing of or­na­mental birds such as Ban­tams, Pea­cocks, Egyp­tian Geese, Pi­geons, Peck­ing Ducks, Guinea Fowls, Mal­lard Ducks, African Ducks, Fan­tail Doves, Tur­keys, Kroiler hens and Os­triches which people come to see and buy.

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Mom­basa farmer rears or­na­mental birds on worm-diet, halfs costs

“I star­ted with cranes and when I sold them, the money I got I spent on two os­trich eggs I bought at Sh10,000 for brood­ing. They hatched and now I have two birds hop­ing they will mul­tiply,” said Ant­ony.

He also has 67 dairy goats which give him over five litres of milk daily. He sells a litre at Sh50. In ad­di­tion, there are four dairy cows and 54 pigs whose meat is in high de­mand by vari­ous con­sumers within Kisumu City and bey­ond.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2012 re­search art­icle on De­mand for Meat in the Rural and Urban Areas of Kenya pub­lished by Hindawi, an Eco­nom­ics Re­search In­ter­na­tional journal, con­sump­tion for meat as a whole is ex­pec­ted to be more than double between 1997 and 2025 from 5.5 to 13.3m met­ric tonnes in Africa. This in­crease is partly linked to what is re­ferred to as the “Live­stock Re­volu­tion”.

The com­pany can be reached through Email: nyolonyambaja2@​gmail.​com or Phone: +254715831198

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