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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Persons with disability from Kagaa venture into poultry farming

By Bob Aston
The socio-economic situation of persons with disabilities in Kenya does not augur well for them. Most persons with disabilities depend on their families for social, financial, material and psychological support. In Kagaa village in Laikipia County, a group of thirty (30) disabled persons have come up together to form Kagaa Kwirera Disabled Group and are now set to venture into indigenous poultry farming.
The group seeks to eradicate poverty through economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. They want to socially and economically become fully integrated members of the community.
Members being capacity built
David Gituthe, Chairman of Kagaa Kwirera Disabled Group says that uplifting the economic status of the disabled in Kagaa village, is of utmost importance to them as they do not want to continue depending on handouts.
Gituthe said that they picked on indigenous poultry as most of the members already have poultry in their homesteads. He said that keeping poultry will be relatively easier compared to other farming activities as it will not be labour intensive.
“We already have indigenous poultry in our homesteads but we now want to invest more in poultry farming so that we can improve our livelihood, as well as take care of our families,” said Gituthe.
Generally, persons with disabilities in Kenya are economically deprived. This is mainly due to a number of barriers including; stigma and marginalization, poverty, limited access to opportunities and benefits and low self esteem.
According to the Kenya National Population Census, 2009, the overall disability rate in Kenya is 3.5% which translates to 1,330,312 million persons with disabilities.
Gituthe said that they have been inviting the Ministry Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to capacity build them on various aspects of poultry farming. Group members now know about various poultry diseases, how to construct a good poultry house, how to differentiate eggs that will hutch as broilers or layers and how to feed poultry.
“We are going to start with a merry go round to ensure that each member has constructed a good poultry house. Once we do that we will ensure that each member has a large stock of indigenous poultry,” said Gituthe.
Already some of the group members have started benefiting from poultry farming. Joseph Kinyua Kia was able to sell four chicken. Kinyua used the proceeds to find a tractor to plough a three quarter piece of land which he intends to cultivate maize.
Members being taught how to construct poultry houses
“Proceeds from chicken sales enabled me to plough my piece of land. I think once we invest more into poultry farming we will be able to get better returns,” said Kinyua.
Kinyua noted that the ministry of livestock has informed them that market for indigenous eggs and chicken is still small.
The group plans to use a market portal called Sokopepe- an online and SMS based platform that provide market prices information to farmers and links farmers with buyers.
Gituthe said that Sokopepe will be able to link them directly with buyers of indigenous chicken and eggs hence they will be able to eliminate middlemen.
Additionally Sokopepe provides other services like access to input suppliers, extension services and a pool of information on both crop farming and livestock.
“We want to help make the disabled self-supporting instead of depending on others. The steps that we have taken will help us improve our livelihood,” said Gituthe.
Cost of production of indigenous poultry is relatively cheaper compared to exotic poultry as the chickens can be fed on home-made feed rations. They can be allowed to free range, therefore cutting down the amount of feed that the farmer has to give them. Indigenous poultry are also tolerant to many diseases, which reduces veterinary costs.
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