Farmers in Nyanza and Western regions are a happy lot since they embraced modern poultry farming.
Cresentia Ooro, 60, who is a widow from Ndori, Siaya county rears indigenous chicken and she has no regrets.
The mother of six earns a living and pays school fees from the project. Her son is pursuing law at Moi University while one of her daughters is taking medicine.
Cresentia started with a brood of 1,000 indigenous chickens in 2014 after undergoing training by the TechnoServe under the agribusiness development initiative. She currently has more than 3,000 chickens.
"I took a risk and invested Sh100,000 meant for school fees to buy 2,000 chicks,” she said.
She attributed this success to co-operation, support and willingness to work among TechnoServe officers.
She used to grow maize and beans but quit due to poor yields.
Cresentia collects six trays of eggs per day, earning her Sh120, 000 per month, with a tray fetching Sh350.
She says on average, she earns Sh200,000 but she also makes extra income from the sale of chicken. A one month old chick sells at 250 each.
"I sell my chicken after six months when they are weighing over two kilogrammes. Sometimes we can sell more than 300 chickens at a go at a cost of Sh400 each. I use the money to cater for feeds, water and medication,” she said.
Cresentia said the poultry project has enabled her and other farmers to cater for their families.
She sells chicken once a month to hotels and schools in Kisumu, Bondo and Kakamega among other towns.
The organisation taught farmers the basics of poultry rearing and how to feed, medicate and maintain the poultry.
"I would like to encourage women to adopt poultry farming and they will never go wrong because even a blind woman can keep chicken,” Cresentia said.
She said farmers visit her farm to learn more about poultry rearing. She also grows vegetables and supplies customers in Kisumu and schools in the area.
Cresentia is a member of Rarienda Multipurpose Company Limited (Ramco) which brings together farmers to help market their produce.
Godfrey Otinga, 60, from Mukuyu East village in Lugari, Kakamega is another happy poultry farmer.
Despite the challenges that come with poultry farming, Otingo says he has no regrets.
The father of nine started with 50 chickens and later expanded his brood in 2013 after being trained on vaccination and breeding by TechnoServe.
Otingo purchased 400 chickens which have grown to 4,000. He first bought 220 chicks at Sh100 each from Kari in May 2013 and later sold 120 chicken after two months at Sh350. He sells eggs at Sh20 each.
He says through farming he has bought an acre piece of land at Sh500,000 and sends his two children to university.
Otingo makes about Sh750,000 from poultry in five months.
He sold 600 chicks at Sh270, which translated to Sh162,000. He also grows maize, banana, yams and beans which earn him extra cash. “Through poultry farming, I am also able to make fertiliser which fetches Sh1,000 per bag,” he added.
There is a ready market for chicken with peak sales in April and December. His customers are mainly from hotels in Western and Nyanza regions.
TechnoServe business adviser Erick Ochanji said the programme is being carried out in Homa Bay, Kakamega, Siaya and Vihiga counties among others.
"The initiative comprises three primary activities namely sustainably improving smallholder farmer poultry production, expanding access to financial services for small-holder poultry farmers and improving poultry market access for smallholder poultry farmers," he explained.
It aims to sustainably improve the livelihoods of 12,000 smallholder poultry producers of indigenous chicken.
He said more than 15,000 farmers (68 per cent women) have been mobilised and trained on modern poultry production techniques.
“We are working with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries,” Ochanji said.