Margaret feeding her chicken in their chicken pen which has over 5000 chicken. Photo courtesy.
A family half an acre farm next to Thika River, in Kiambu County is housing two fish ponds, a poultry pen and a dairy unit. This has attracted farmers and experts who visit the farm to learn how a small piece of land can be used to run different agribusiness activities.
Kenneth Macharia, a husband and father of two daughters and a son, decided to introduce his family to agribusiness after retiring as technician from the Ministry of Transport. Each member handles a different farm unit, a factor that has contributed to the farm’s 10 to 15 farmer group visits every week.
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“Our farm receives visitors weekly. Recently we hosted a delegation of farmers from Homa Bay County which had come on a series of agribusiness activities in Nairobi and extended their visit here,” said Macharia.
Macharia’s wife, Margret and first born son Kevin, a graduate of Kenyatta University (KU) handle the poultry pen which has over 5000 chicken. The family tarted with layers and broilers until 2010 then switched to indigenous chicken which Margaret learnt from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
“With time we decided to leave indigenous variety to try Kuroiler breed by investing Sh200,000 to purchase 50 chicken which have multiplied to what we have today,” said Margaret.
Every day the two collect 20 crates of eggs that are sold in the local markets and shops in Thika.
With the introduction of incubators that have a capacity of holding 3000 eggs, they can now incubate their own eggs and increase their poultry farm.
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Macharia takes care of the dairy unit which has 30 dairy cows under zero grazing that produce 250 litres of milk every day. He ensures the right feed is given to the cows, oversees their health status, milking and milk distribution process.
“I loved farming though I was a transport technician. I thought it was a nice idea to introduce my family that we may together increase our production,” said Macharia.
Maureen the second born and also a graduate from KU handles the fish business which started with an investment of 1000 tilapia and catfish.
“Dad started with some fish but with time the business grew and we decided to diversify into ornamental fish and the making of aquariums. It is a business that has blossomed and now earns the family a profit of Sh2000 each month,” said Maureen.
Besides making and selling aquariums which have a selling price that ranges from Sh35,000 and Sh40,000 depending on the design, the family sells a kilo of catfish at Sh200.
The last born in the family called Diana Wambui helps the family across the sectors when needed.
Beyond farming, the farm is registered as Sky Blue Farmland, producing a yoghurt brand called Highland Yoghurts. It has been in the market for the last six months. This has seen the farm employ seven permanent employees and other five on casual basis.
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“Our yoghurt brand has received warm reception in the areas we have sold it like Kawangware and Baba Dogo areas in Nairobi. We have also earned supply contracts with Kassmatt Supermarket though the heated political climate in the country has dwindled our supply,” said Macharia.