I am Caroline Aoko Okong’o, 26, from Kenya. I have a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness management and currently I am pursuing an MSc in Agri-enterprise Development.
Home sweet home! I really love my rural home and this is one of the motivating factors for me to venture into the agricultural field. Milk and eggs are among the important sources of protein for human life. When they become scarce then there is a problem.
I want to see my village flourish in subsistence and commercial agriculture, specifically in the production of milk and eggs, which are a challenge. Most of these products we consume come from other regions of Kenya. I believe we can do it as well and that is why I want to establish these projects.
As an agri-entrepreneur, I believe in starting small. In addition to the twenty indigenous chicken I already have, I would like to add other 300 purely as layers from the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
This breed is more productive compared to the current breed in my village. It’s known that farmers believe in seeing and touching, so I intend to use my project as a demonstration to teach them that it can be done. This I will do through a series of training sessions from the onset of the projects.
Milk is sweet in any form. Getting it directly from your cow makes it even sweeter and selling it to others to get money that will enable improvements in livelihood makes it the sweetest.
‘Indigenous cows are too demanding and expensive to survive here.’ That is what my people believe in and that is the notion I want to change. Just like the case of chicken, I will get an expectant cow from KALRO, take care of it till it calves, and use it for demonstration.
When a woman is empowered in the agricultural sector she will automatically increase her income, develop a stable rural livelihood and contribute to ensuring food security, hence promoting economic development.
However, true empowerment of women should move beyond livelihoods to wealth creation and business leadership in agriculture. This is my major motivation and, for these reasons, my projects will focus specifically on women. They are the majority in my village and most of them are widows, with a big number of children and grandchildren to take care of.
These two projects are very viable and realistic since, once established and properly managed, they will sustain themselves. For instance, in chicken production, after a maximum period of four months, they will start laying and the proceeds from the eggs will then be used to run the project. Similar to dairy production.
Once the cow calves, milk will be sold and the income will be used to take care of the project. The market is readily available. There are several schools, polytechnics and even individuals in my village who love these products. In future, I am certain that we will be in a position to supply the entire county and even be part of the leading companies in these industries.
To be efficient and effective in ensuring the success of my projects, I have selected Fridays and Saturdays as my days of practice, after acquiring the theoretical knowledge in class.
I have attached myself to a large-scale dairy farmer close to my university where I do hands-on practical management of the farm. By doing these, I ensure that I develop all round in knowledge and skills to run the projects.
For the success of my project and attainment of my dream, I will come up with ways to ensure that finances are available for willing farmers to engage in these businesses. These I will do by making use of the table banking among the women, where we support one woman at a time.
I will also purchase a group incubator, which will enable us hatch our own chicks to reduce the cost. In the long run, I hope to get financial support from the Ministry of Agriculture and non-governmental organizations in my place.
I will consider myself successful when I have at least ten women engaged in the commercial dairy and poultry production. They will be self-employed, hence reducing poverty levels.
I intend to use the first batch of the USD 500 in establishing the poultry unit and the second and third to establish and develop the dairy production unit respectively as follows.
Assumed exchange rate: USD 1 = KES 100
200 chicks @ USD 1.1 = USD 220
Feed for four months 41,117 bags @ 2700= USD 1,111
Two brooders @ USD 15 = USD 30
Five drinkers @ USD 2.5 = USD 12.5
Vaccines for the first four months = USD 30
Salary for the first 4 months @ USD 25 = USD 100
Transportation = USD 30
Miscellaneous = USD136.5
Total USD 1,670
Purchase of expectant cow USD 1,300
Feeds for four months USD 240
Salary for four months USD 80
Transportation USD 20
Miscellaneous USD 0.3
Total USD 1,670
Purchase of intermediate cow at USD 2,600 with the remainder for transportation and miscellaneous.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Caroline Aoko Okong’o (Kenya): caroline17.ao[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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