After serving and working in community development and more specifically in youth economic empowerment programs for quite some time, my direction has become further defined. This arose after I attended a training event for President Obama’s program known as Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) from November 2015 to February 2016.
The training helped me to not only gain deep understanding of entrepreneurship but also to swing into action. It pushed me to think deeply and ask myself what opportunities I have within my sphere.
I have initiated training for many youth in entrepreneurship and, being a leader in several youth groups, I evaluated my life and passion. After rewriting my mission, I found my area of interest and passion. It is an area that I have overlooked for my many years despite the fact that my father taught and exposed me to a lot of it. It is the field of agribusiness.
My name is Collins K. Togom from Kajiado County, Kenya, age 30 years. I am a graduate in community development and currently working with a non-governmental organization that focuses on community empowerment and especially youth programs. As a youth I believe in creating solutions to the challenges facing us, and therefore I believe that the next stage of revolutionaries and world billionaires arise from agribusiness.
I believe that agribusiness is a major solution to the youth unemployment rate and creates reliable opportunities as opposed to many farmers who practice traditional farming methods.
After going to school and attaining university education, most youth do not consider agribusiness as an option that can solve the many challenges of unemployment. This can either be looked at in the perspective of the education system or the societal perception that white collar jobs are the best. However, after searching for jobs for quite some time without immediate success, their hopes are dashed. This is where some begin to ponder about agribusiness, which was never an option to them before.
The story above describes me and my views. I had never thought agribusiness would be one of the areas of interest to me. Now I can confidently say that I have totally identified where my passion was hidden for a long time.
I have started a business now legally registered as “Agri-Poultry Farming (APF)” with a focus on agribusiness and more specifically in poultry farming and agribusiness of watermelons and onions. My project is focused on two areas. The first is poultry farming.
The community produces a lot of eggs, but a lot of chicks die or are not produced because of the low rate of production by the hens. I have noted the community’s need of incubation and am initiating a project dubbed “Egg Incubation Services (EIS)”. EIS will provide egg incubation services to the community. The community will bring their eggs for incubation at the center at a cost while the center will focus on incubation and rearing of indigenous poultry otherwise called “Kienyeji.” Kienyeji are improved in two types: KARI Kienyeji and Kuroiler, which require little feed, are resistant to diseases and have economic value.
The second focus area is agribusiness. I have set up land ready to plant watermelons. The land is 1 acre in area and the cost of acquiring it was huge, however I am determined to overcome all the challenges that come along. The poultry house is built on the farm and the poultry waste products (droppings) will be used as manure for farming.
This is a realistic project as it addresses the real issues that I recognize in the community. As indicated by a community member, I have to overcome the challenge of getting quality indigenous or Kienyeji chickens, fertilized eggs and engagement in agribusiness that produces the other necessary and key products, including but not limited to onions, tomatoes, watermelons and vegetables.
The sustainability aspect is cultivated from within the community through production and supply of eggs, as the center will supply the chicks and chickens at affordable cost targeting the empowerment of youth and women groups. I also intend to ensure flexibility in the poultry house I have constructed so as not just to sell chicks but to also rear them to produce eggs, and to train the youth and women groups in chicken rearing.
One of the key things that motivates me is to not just impact my community and transform it, but to venture into agribusiness as a powerful tool to address unemployment. I love to see change and transformation not just in myself, but also in my fellow youth and community at large.
My personal gains and the gains of the community will therefore be the economic activity that will allow us to cultivate self-reliance and skills in poultry and agribusiness in a region where land is readily available and accessible and the only challenge is the attitude and perception towards agribusiness. I will be looking forward to engaging and seeing meaningful change in this aspect.
The goals and objectives that will drive me and guide my steps are many, and the key will be committing myself to the challenge and taking personal initiative to ensure its success. Whatever challenges arise I stand to design innovative solutions. The second goal is to integrate poultry farming and agribusiness as a solution to reduce rates of unemployment and address food security. Lastly, I want to make an impact and create a pool of youth agripreneurs in the community with a reliable source of income that make an impact in the community they live in.
As I write, the poultry house that can accommodate 800 chickens at the cost so far of USD $500 is almost ready to go, and I have also purchased the incubator that can produce up to 1,232 chicks in 21 days. I have fenced the land at the cost of USD $300 and am in the process of preparing land for planting watermelons with the help of a farm laborer. Most importantly, I have registered the business name “Agri-Poultry Farming.”
Measurable success to me lies with the reliable supply of eggs from the community, sustainable income and input from the Agri-Poultry Farm, creation of reliable markets and last but not least engagement of youth and women in agribusiness.
Item Quantity Cost/USD Total Cost Time Frame
Water Tanks 2 400 800 April 2016
Incubator Machine 2 1000 200o July 2016
Poultry House 1 1800 1800 August 2016
Eggs 1232 360 July 2016
Website setup 1 40 April 2016
Blogpost and picture submitted by Collins Togom (Nairobi, Kenya) – colkips[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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