With the declining jobs in Kenya, and especially in urban areas, women and youth in Nakuru County have taken to rearing chickens to earn a living.
Organised in groups, they are getting trained on poultry farming by experts recruited by the county, before being given capital to start keeping poultry.
“We bring in poultry experts to train the groups on poultry keeping then give them capital, including chicks, incubators and fertilised eggs,” said acting County Livestock Director Virginiah Ngunjiri.
Ms Ngunjiri said the poultry project was among many ventures being used to get as many women and young people as possible into viable economic activities.
Through the project, the county will not only enable the groups to provide food but this will also go a long way in reducing poverty among the group members.
‘’While promoting urban agriculture, the county aims at ensuring the use of the limited available space to feed the growing population in urban centres while promoting food security and nutrition as well as creating employment,” she said.
The county targets to have poultry farmers in each of the 10 wards of Nakuru Town produce eggs for sale within their areas.
And with the increasing number of people moving into urban Nakuru, farmers can be assured of a ready market.
The groups produce eggs for family consumption and sale to the increasing urban population.
Ms Joyce Wanjiru Njoroge, the chairlady of Kiratina Women’s group, says that poultry keeping is manageable.
“It’s a good thing since I can plan myself and still do other duties. I have a timetable on when to feed them, clean or collect the eggs and this allows me a lot of flexibility,” she said.
The county trains the groups on different aspects of poultry farming, including housing, feeding, incubation, and vaccination.
The project is being undertaken in the two urban constituencies of Nakuru East and Nakuru West that form Nakuru Town.
At least 250 farmers in all the 10 wards are targeted for inclusion into the project.
The county has distributed over 7,600 chicks and 10,000 fertilised eggs to 52 groups in the two sub-counties.
Ms Caroline Sityenei, a Nakuru-based Veteran Officer, noted that proper housing, brooding, feeding and vaccination will be key to the success of the project.
“If the project has to be successful and beneficial then the farmers must strictly adherer to programme we have given them. If they feed, brood or house wrongly, then they might be in for a rude shock,” said Ms Sityenei.
While promoting urban agriculture, the county aims at ensuring the use of limited available space to feed the growing population in towns through promoting food security and nutrition and create employment.
Apart from distributing chicks to groups, the county is also using the method of giving out fertilised eggs for hatching to groups.
Each group gets at least one incubator for egg hatching which comes with backup generators in places where electricity supply in unstable.
In the pipeline is the Nakuru County Urban Food and Agriculture Bill to promote urban agriculture in limited spaces and ensure a sustainable food system.
Mr John Kinyua, from the Kaptembwo youth group, says that availability of feeds is their main challenge.
He wishes the county could partner with animal feed companies to supply them with feeds at subsidised prices.
“At times we lack money to buy enough feeding material and that is our biggest challenge so far,” he said.