Kenya’s poultry industry has over the past years become an expensive venture following a sharp increase in costs after the government slapped a 16 per cent value added tax on animal feeds in October 2013.
Poultry farmers who still continue with the business venture pass on the higher costs of production to consumers to stay afloat.
Today, farmers are also increasingly formulating their own feeds from a mix of ingredients, seeking to grow healthy chickens and cut costs.
It is this grim reality that two years ago led Henry Ambwere to innovate a product which he claims helps farmers save up to Sh12,000 on feed costs every month.
Other than cut expenses, the 47-year old entrepreneur says the organic supplement, dubbed MolaPlus Poultry Microbes, improves the maturity rate of the birds by two-and-a-half weeks.
“With the increasing cost of feeds, poultry farmers need a feeding formula that ensures right rations with a good nutritional mix while keeping the birds free from diseases,” said Mr Ambwere, the chief executive and founder of Nakuru-based MolaPlus Limited.
The poultry supplement is a probiotic liquid, a combination of different strains of yeast and bacteria, which Mr Ambwere says have been proved to have beneficial effects on chicken.
The microorganisms ensure that chicken utilise less feeds faster, boosting the bird’s growth rate and weight gain than poultry that rely exclusively on feeds.
Other than enabling poultry to efficiently consume their feeds, Mr Ambwere says, the microbes attach themselves to the bird’s gut, protecting them from disease-causing aflatoxins.
Aflatoxins cause stunted growth in poultry as well as lead them to lay tiny, poorly developed eggs as well as compromise the animals’ immunity. The poultry supplement is first mixed with water at the ratio of five millilitres for every litre of water before it is given to the poultry.
According to Mr Ambwere, poultry farmers who use the product are able to save at least one 70-kilogramme bag every week which currently retails at about Sh3,000.
“With the use of microbes, the chicken reach maturity in four and a half weeks compared to the traditional seven weeks.
“Layers are also able to begin laying eggs earlier,” said Mr Ambwere.
The Economic Survey 2015 notes that the value of chicken and eggs sold in 2014 increased to Sh7.4 billion from Sh7.08 billion recorded the previous year.
MolaPlus Limited is based in Nakuru’s Industrial Area.
The poultry formula is one of several productivity boosting products that the former Chemilil Sugar Limited executive has come up with in the seven years his business has been in operation.
Mr Ambwere’s firm, which employs around 20 people, also manufactures milk boosters which he says enables dairy cows produce between one and five extra litres of milk.
The firm also produces dairy meal which, just like the poultry supplement, makes use of microbes to boost utilisation of the feeds while protecting the cows from certain diseases.
Lastly, MolaPlus Limited manufactures a “horticulture syrup” from sugarcane molasses which, when used to irrigate crops, reduces root damage and stimulates growth of soil microbes, among other benefits.
This range of products has seen MolaPlus Limited grow its revenues to approximately Sh60 million every year with 2,000 and 500 agrovets stocking their products in Kenya and Uganda respectively.
“Our company’s goal is to improve productivity in farming as efficiently as possible,” Mr Ambwere told Enterprise.