Winrock International’s Partnership for Safe Poultry in Kenya (PSPK) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is working with a number of poultry sector stakeholders – including the Ministry of Livestock Development, the private sector, and smallholder farmers – to strengthen the overall poultry sector and promote safe, indigenous poultry products.
The poultry sector is important to Kenya’s agriculture sector, with 76% of all Kenyan rural households engaged in some kind of poultry rearing. Despite strong opportunities for growth, the sector is susceptible to constraints such as a weak feed industry, lack of market access, and a high prevalence of poultry diseases. PSPK is helping smallholder farmers and the Government of Kenya to overcome these obstacles. The project works with local partners to develop market-based solutions through value-chain development, improved production practices, increased access to information and credit, and market linkages. Sixty-nine percent of the project’s target group are women.
On a national level, PSPK has facilitated the development of a Kenya National Poultry Improvement Program (KNPIP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock Development, to promote competitiveness of Kenyan poultry products and improve the livelihoods of poultry producers. For individual farmers, PSPK has provided a variety of training, tools, and assistance. Based on the program’s best practices to date, PSPK offers the following key advice to smallholder farmers to ensure their safety and increased production:
Follow Biosecurity Practices to Keep Yourself and Poultry Safe from Diseases
PSPK has identified biosecurity practices to reduce mortalities and disease incidence on smallholder poultry farms. PSPK manuals, brochures, and demonstration sites help train smallholder farmers on safe poultry practices and 11 biosecurity demonstration farms are now practicing biosecurity measures and serving as models to demonstrate good practices and viable chicken business to other farmers. Farmers practicing safe biosecurity measures have indicated that the mortalities on their farm have reduced from 20% to 3-5%.
Backyard biosecurity means doing everything you can to protect your birds from diseases. Your birds can become sick or die from exposure to just a few bacteria, viruses, or parasites. In a single day, these germs can multiply and infect all your birds. By practicing backyard biosecurity, you can keep your birds healthy. Here are some important tips:
- Restrict access to your chicken rearing enclosure/ areas or housing unit and your birds.
- New birds should be kept separate from your flock for at least 30 days before putting them with the rest of your birds.
- Keep a pair of shoes (gum boots are best) and outerwear on hand that you wear only around your birds.
- Install a foot bath step pan with disinfectant and a hand washing station at the entrance to every coop.
- Inspect your flock for signs of parasites and take appropriate action immediately.
- Tools such as feed scoops, shovels, rakes, and brooms must be cleaned with soap and water then disinfected before and after you use them.
- Dead birds should be quickly and properly disposed by burial, composting, or incineration.
Use Simple Financial Planning Tools to Help Make Key Poultry Keeping Business Decisions
PSPK developed a finance tool to help poultry producers understand and make decisions on various aspects of production and thereby improve profitability and production efficiency. This tool has enabled PSPK and its target groups to establish a minimum flock size in order for producers to make a profit. With a minimum flock size of 30 birds, producers can achieve net income of Ksh 1991 after 16 weeks, with an average 12% profit margin (about Ksh 18 per day) and a 42% return on investment.
Microfinance institutions can also use the tool, which generates a profitability cash flow analysis based on prices of inputs and sale prices of products at identified markets. The model demonstrates capital investment requirements to help banks in decision making.
Make Use of Online Resources, such as Kenya Poultry Website
Along with the Ministry of Livestock Development, PSPK has developed a website and information sharing system to link poultry sector stakeholders to relevant information and to provide a way to share information and create linkages. We urge all stakeholders to visit and make use of the website to share information. The new website (http:// kenyapoultry.org) contains information on the following:
Important articles on Poultry production, which will be of interest to anyone rearing poultry.
- User Forum, where registered users of the site can discuss topics of their choosing and get answers.
- Directory of Producers, Buyers, Processors and Input Suppliers.
- An Event Calendar, for news on upcoming seminars, trade shows and events.
- News Feeds, with links to other great sources of information.
- Links to other sites that might be useful.
- Advertising opportunities for goods or services of individuals or organizations.
- Chicken price information- IVR Sokoni mobile number provided by Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange (KACE).
PSPK operates in nine districts across Kenya. Since May 2009, PSPK has trained more than 1,500 poultry producers. As a result, poultry farmers have healthier flocks, are taking advantage of market opportunities and financing, and are ultimately increasing their income.
PSPK will continue to help improve the Kenyan poultry through March 2011. The program is seeking additional funding to continue program activities and potentially replicate the program’s successes in more districts across Kenya and elsewhere in East Africa.