Bungoma poultry farmer bets on slaughter house to reap big


Chicks feed from automated feeders at a Nyeri poultry farm on February 23, 2017. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Mr Joseph Waswa, a trader based in Webuye has never been one to shy away from risk, not when there is an opportunity for a big pay day.

And so, when last year he caught reports of a plan to revamp a chicken slaughter house in Chwele, Bungoma, he saw a chance to reap big and decided boost his investment.

With a capital of Sh1.5 million, Mr Waswa from Tete, Webuye East constituency increased his flock to more than 45,000 birds.

A year after starting off the project, Mr Waswa has reared more than 13,000 egg layers at his Melpa poultry farm. He sells the eggs and meat to supermarkets and hotels.

At first, he didn’t know where he could sell his eggs and took time making contacts to enable him get buyers in Bungoma.

“We have a ready market for eggs. We sell to schools, shops, homes, hospitals and other institutions. A crate of eggs goes for between Sh270 and Sh330,” he said

On a good day, the layers produce about one hundred crates of eggs.

But the slaughter house, he said, presents his biggest opportunity yet. The reopening has given hope to poultry farmers across the county.

"We will be selling our birds in bulk to Chwele slaughter house after they complete laying of their eggs and are no longer productive,” he said.

The Sh700 million abattoir was built in 2016 by the administration of Bungoma’s first governor Ken Lusaka. It later collapsed due to lack of raw material and other operational issues.

Three months ago, the county's ministry of agriculture handed over the abattoir to a local investor who has leased it for20 years.

The investor said that he will ensure the factory is operational and promised to offer jobs to residents and ensure poultry farmers have a ready market channel for their birds.

Meanwhile, has been trying to keep his operational costs low. One of the biggest costs item concern is chicken feed. Over the last few months costs have drastically increased on lack of raw materials, most of which Kenya imports.

Instead of being captive to the market forces, Mr Waswa decided to get his own machine that produces the feeds, greatly saving on costs.

Mr Waswa said that at times he also buys the feeds in Mbale, Iginga and Tororo in Uganda.

"Most of the time we get our feeds from neighbouring Uganda where the prices are affordable compared to locally,” he said.

"We decided to buy our own machine that was imported from China to help us make our own feeds at the farm and that has made all the difference," he said.

To minimise the chances of his investment literally dying before the big pay day, his birds are often given medication and separated in case of an outbreak of a diseases.

"We have lots of medicine that we give our birds to contain an outbreak of diseases or ensure they are laying eggs normally,” said Mt Waswa.

He said that he has always kept good records of vaccination that ensures the birds are healthy.

Mr Waswa said that they have Indian brown birds that they got from Deputy President William Ruto's Sugoi poultry farm.


"I started off the project after I requested to visit the Deputy President’s Sugoi residence to benchmark on poultry farming. The visit to Sugoi was an eye-opener and I decided to try out what I had learnt at the farm,” said the farmer.

"We also have Essa brown variety that we got from Ken Chick that lays a lot of eggs," Mr Waswa explained.

The setting for the poultry should always be right if one expects good results. At Mr Waswa’s farm, the birds have clean water always, enough food, warmth and are reared in a stress free environment.

"I want to advise residents of Bungoma to start the business that will earn them a profit in the shortest period of say, four months and two weeks. Poultry framing is easy and well paying if one knows what to do,” said Mr Waswa.

Mr Berlin Ajeks, a worker at the farm said the success of the project had attracted other farmers who were visiting to learn the tricks on successful poultry farming.