Who will feed 1 billion Africans come 2050? What will be Africa’s contribution toward hunger end; by 2030, as per the SDGs? What part are you and I playing to contribute towards a hunger-free Africa? There are of course 100 potential answers to these questions; and I wish to propose one of them in the ensuing discussion.
29 years ago was born a bouncing baby boy called Allan Muhaari Wachira somewhere in the rural area of Muranga County, Kenya. He hailed from a middle class family of 5 where he got the rare privilege of education to the university level; where he studied law. Unknown to him, his childhood dream of defending the rights of others gradually shifted into a passion for the rights of the hungry stomach.
Growing up, I was convinced that “kuku” meat – that is chicken meat- was a reserve for the rich; for we could only afford to eat protein from “maharagwe”- beans. But now I know better, I am persuaded beyond any reasonable doubt, that every family in Africa can afford a portion of protein from chicken meat at every dinner; and I am uncompromisingly determined to reach this goal.
Every human has a strong drive to acquire food and we seek to partly meet this urgency through poultry farming. Evidently, this is not a unique idea since a great population in Africa lives in rural settings where poultry raising has deep roots. That notwithstanding, the uniqueness lies in its ever green potential, speed of the market, the market its self inter alia.
My poultry farming project is biased in favor of one breed – the Kuroiler. This breed of chicken is consistently changing the poultry industry in Africa both at the subsistence and commercial level. It is certainly a game changer, and my intention for raring it is three-fold.
Firstly is for egg production. Its hens produce at least 150 eggs per year. Given the fact that the African egg consumer has always preferred the local chicken eggs- despite its higher cost- it goes without saying that its better for business. Worth noting is that the hens start laying at 5 months for 2 years continuously.
Secondly is for meat production. Who dislikes tasty chicken meat? The kuroiler chicken tastes as good as the local counter parts, is tenderer, matures faster and weighs heavier. It’s just the idealized breed for the legendary commercial poultry farmer. At 4 months, the hen weighs between 2-3 kgs and the cock weighs between 4-5 kgs at maturity. With increased weight comes increased edible meat thus greater benefits, and of course a higher perceived value. Result? Good business. Not forgetting that with more meat, more African families will be fed.
Thirdly is sale of one (1) day old chicks, one week and/or one month old birds. Despite the fact that kuroiler hens don’t sit on their eggs – as they are busy laying more- their fertilized eggs can be incubated. And it suffices to say that hatchability of the eggs is quite high. Though we are not supposed to “count the chicks before they hatch”, knowing that one can realize at least 80% hatchability is good enough for business. In addition, the kuroiler chicks are more resistant to diseases compared to their layers and broilers counterparts; and this is positive proof of their big potential.
As to how I intend to achieve this, I will briefly note the following. My plan is to have a starting flock of 500 hens, 300 cockerels. Some of the eggs from the hens will be for incubation and others for sale. For the cockerels, 50 will be for servicing the hens and 250 cocks for meat production. I envision buying the starting flock as one day old chicks where I can raise them to maturity.
This project is absolutely self-sustaining, in that the revenue we obtain from sale of the aforementioned products will be re-invested back and no further funding will be required.
My main motivation is the desire to achieve my goal- protein for Africa every meal. It’s in this that are hidden other factors that push me to strive harder. One is improved nutrition. Poultry products are a tremendous source of protein and a key nutrient for a healthy mind and body.
My second motivation is poverty eradication. Every citizen can practice poultry farming irrespective of his/her educational status; meaning a willing heart can get the opportunity of additional income especially for rural households. This comes in handy for families that are short of big lands for agriculture but can only get access to backyards which are good enough for small scale farmers.
Self-gains include the satisfaction that come with impacting the community; my contribution toward a hunger-free continent. And it will also serve as a source of revenue for my family. As for the community, this venture will provide excellent opportunity for underemployed members of the rural families to earn their livelihood on sustainable basis. As well as enjoy better health.
Given that the US$5000 grant will be disbursed in 3 installations, our priority will be to invest in the starting flock, feed and vaccines. As earlier indicated we will use US$680 to purchase 800 day old chicks at US$0.85 per chick; US$100 to cater for the vaccines and other medications; US$2000 to buy feed, feeders and drinkers for the first 5 months. In addition, for the first 5 months, we will spend about US$ 600 for additional labour cost and any other technical advice. Finally, when the hens start laying at the fifth month, we will invest the remaining US$1620 in an incubator and a stand-by generator so as to commence on the hatchery process.
My achievements thus far include a ready structure that can hold a minimum of 3000 birds; sufficient supply of clean water; and connection to the grid. The success of this venture will be evident as soon as we start the sale of one day old chicks on the sixth month. Moreover, production of meat and eggs for sale on the fifth month will be positive proof of actual measurable success.
Now that the structure is ready, the first step will be to prepare and follow the prerequisites for brooding. Secondly is to acquire the starting flock and buy the feed needed, follow the vaccination schedule to ensure disease control as well as use the common bio-security measure. Lastly is to ensure I have ready market.
I believe with the mentorship I will receive from GCARD3, my proposal will be fine-tuned. All great achievements require time, and I am optimistic that this will be the first step towards realizing my goal of protein for Africa every meal.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Allan Muhaari Wachira (Kenya) – kiongozimuhaari[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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