FAO Kenya and Kisumu county has initiated programmes to promote poultry keeping among smallholder farmers in the region.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation seeks to bolster agricultural production as a strategy to ensure food security and promote alternative income streams for Kisumu residents.
Poultry is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing segments of the agricultural sector with a significant number of farmers in the lakeside region venturing into improved chicken farming.
FAO has disbursed grants in form of day-old chicks valued at Sh11 million to poultry farmers through the Urban Food Systems project targeting rural-urban communities in the county.
The ambitious project benefitted 100 farmers from Kisumu East, Kisumu Central, Nyando and Kisumu West subcounties.
They were issued with 10,000 day-old chicks to promote poultry as a viable intervention toward improving livelihoods.
County executive for Agriculture Gilchrist Okuom commended FAO for the generous gesture that has positively impacted the people.
He called on the farmers to take care of the birds to realise profits from both the eggs and meat from the improved Kienyeji breeds.
The beneficiaries also underwent a three-day training to equip them with technical skills to venture into the poultry business.
The training focused on poultry housing, brooder establishment, feeds, feeding, poultry disease control and management, waste management, entrepreneurship and business skills.
In addition, FAO handed more bags of chicken feeds and an assortment of poultry farming equipment to beneficiaries during a function presided over by the FAO Agribusiness coordinator David Makongo.
The farmers received 100 units of 50kg bags of layers and growers mash for birds meant for eggs and meat enhancement respectively.
In addition, they were issued with equipment like chicken feeding trays, drinkers, feeders, syringes, droppers, disinfectants, gloves, dewormers, multi-vitamin, plywood sheets and automated drinkers and pipes.
“I appeal to farmers to take care of the farm inputs and equipment and put them into good use to achieve the desired goals and turn around your livelihoods through poultry business,” Makongo said.
At the same time, he stressed that the donations would also be instrumental in the establishment of centres of excellence for the poultry Farmer Business Schools project in the county.
The establishment of FBS, Makongo said, will go a long way in enabling farmers to learn best practices in poultry farming.
The FBS is an initiative mooted by FAO in April to facilitate the Training of Trainers who are expected to train other farmers across the county.
ToTs were to train on best farming practice methods that oscillate around poultry, aquaculture and green leafy vegetable value chains.
FAO deputy country representative, Hamisi William said the FBS project was developed to empower farmers on how to make their ventures more profitable while responding to the market demand.
“The school enables farmers to improve their knowledge, change their attitude and enhance their skills needed for farm commercialisation,” William said.