A Chinese firm manufacturing hatchery equipment has partnered with a local establishment to tap into the promising opportunities at the county level in Kenya.
Kuku Masters, which will be the point man for Sichuan Emon Import and Export, said it planned to sell at least three egg incubators â€” which have a capacity of hatching 8,000 chicks every 21 days â€” to every county. The firm is eyeing co-operatives, youth and women groups that want to explore poultry farming at commercial level.
The co-founder of Kuku Masters, Raymond Njoroge, also said they are targeting individual farmers that are able to afford the initial cost that is upwards of Sh500, 000 for an incubator.
â€œThe initial cost is high, but one can recoup their investments in a little over a year. And there is a market locally and even in the region as commercial production of poultry products has not caught on really well,â€ he said.
The countryâ€™s egg per capita consumption stands at 36 per year, against the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of 182 per year
â€œThe per capita consumption of poultry products in the country is still low and since people are increasingly aware of the health benefits of the products compared to beef and other red meat, there is a huge opportunity,â€ he said.
â€œMarketing products to Government offices and institutions as well as schools should make a good market for local farmers. There is no point why a school in a particular county should â€˜importâ€™ what can be produced in that county. Poultry can be reared in almost all parts of the country.â€
Other than incubators, Kuku Masters will be selling and serving equipment that are associated with poultry farming, including rice and maize threshers that prepare feed for chicken and feather plucking machines.
But while increased production might meet result in adequacy in poultry products locally, there is also a risk of saturating the market, which might result in farmers getting little or no returns from their investments.
â€œThere is always a risk of oversupply, but we currently run a risk of relying on imported eggs. But if we shore up our production, we can tap into other markets in the region. South Sudan relies heavily on poultry products imports. Given the countryâ€™s proximity to Kenya, it should be easy that market.â€
â€œThere is also the need to diversify from chicken rearing to doing other birds. For instance, there are farmers that are rearing quails and though it needs a bit of marketing, the market for quail meat and eggs is growing.â€
Njoroge noted that the limited knowledge on the benefits of consuming poultry products has hindered commercialising poultry.
Other challenges that face the growth of the industry include high cost of chicken feed, which has made rearing birds on a commercial scale a turn off, especially for small farmers that may not have the economies of scale for their farms.-Standard