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Sh10 million poultry project targets women

By Nathan Ochunge

Kakamega Deputy Governor Phillip Kutima distributes chicken to 120 groups in Kakamega. [Duncan Ocholla, Standard]

Kakamega County Government has launched a Sh10 million poultry project that targets women, youth groups and Persons Living with Disabilities across the 12 sub counties. Already 4,000 one-month old Kienyeji improved chicks have been distributed to poultry farmers.

Kakamega Deputy Governor, Philip Kutima, who doubles up as the CEC Member for Agriculture and Livestock, while launching the project said beneficiaries are those groups that have received training in poultry farming.

“As we launch this project today, we are giving out 400 chicks to ten groups comprising women, the youth and persons with disabilities. The chicks are from the Improved Kienyeji breed and they are one month old,” Prof Kutima said.

The deputy governor said the chicks were hatched and vaccinated by the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (Kalro) in Naivasha.

As a long term strategy, the county has contacted private firms who will help in hatching chicks and brood them before being given out to the farmers.

“We want Kakamega residents to venture into poultry farming for commercial purposes and sustain the market demands of eggs and meat from improved Kienyeji chicken. We want to increase productivity and stop unscrupulous businessmen from selling imported eggs from Uganda,” Prof Kutima said.

The cheap eggs from Uganda have flooded the market which is making those in poultry farming make losses said the county official.

“We want to promote rearing of Improved Kienyeji chicken since it had a high nutrient content,” he said.

Kutima said in December, they gave out 500 day-old chicks to six women and youth groups that had brooding facilities.

Kelly Auma Nelima, the chief officer in charge of Livestock and Fisheries, said brooding chicks for one month before giving them to farmers helps in reducing mortality rate.

Dr Auma, a veterinary officer, said all the chicks they have distributed to farmers have been vaccinated against poultry diseases like Newcastle, gumboro and other bacterial diseases.

She urged farmers who have ventured in poultry-farming to make use of the Kakamega County Veterinary Laboratory and have their flock tested so that they get proper diagnosis.

“You can vaccinate your flock but they will still die. The vaccines may have expired or been handled badly by farmers or agrovet dealers. All vaccines are supposed to be stored below 4 degrees to be effective,” said Dr Auma.

According to Dr Auma, the county wants to increase the productivity of poultry-farming which will go a long way in boosting food security.

“Kienyeji chicken attain maturity rate faster -- that is between five to six months and they start laying eggs immediately. There is a ready market for poultry products and when one does value-addition on their products, the proceeds are high,” Dr Auma said.

At the same time, she warned farmers against eating meat from dead or sick flock since it is contaminated.

“Avoid eating such because they are poisonous.”

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