Hatching Hope Kenya Generates New Opportunities for Poultry Producers
July 13, 2021
Increasing Poultry Consumption
The Hatching Hope Global Initiative is a bold, innovative program to improve people’s nutrition and livelihoods through the production, promotion and consumption of poultry. In Kenya, the program is working toward a goal of reaching 10 million people in its first phase (2019-2022) through a combination of direct support to farmers and consumer-awareness campaigns, contributing to the Hatching Hope’s global goal of improving the nutrition and incomes of 100 million people by 2030.
While efforts to improve production and strengthen market systems are ongoing, Hatching Hope acknowledges that solely increasing poultry production does not automatically lead to increased consumption. Increasing consumption requires integrating nutrition education and behavioral change communication within the project.
Last year, Hatching Hope Kenya conducted the Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) study to develop a nutrition SBCC strategy that raises awareness and nutrition education on the production and consumption of poultry and vegetables in the project areas. Released in October 2020, the report outlined enablers of and barriers to nutrition behavior in Hatching Hope communities. It found that higher income, higher education and increased nutrition awareness are enablers of poultry consumption. Barriers to poultry consumption include cultural norms and taboos, lack of nutrition awareness, limited access to inputs, extension services and finance.
In response to the study’s findings, Hatching Hope Kenya developed the SBCC strategy to address nutrition behavior. The strategy targets school children, households, and county officials with tailored messages about essential nutrition. Various communication methods such as radio, extension services, schools and community advocacy forums have been used to reach these audiences. Implementing the SBCC strategy, Hatching Hope Kenya has seen positive behavioral changes in project areas. The May 2021 Mid-term review of the project revealed improvement in poultry consumption among 32,800 individuals. The report also indicates protein intake per person increased from 23.78 grams from November 2019 to 41.5 grams in May 2021.
Building Stronger Markets
As the project operates in the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, Migori, and the surrounding areas of Nakuru, Uasin Gishu counties, and Nairobi Metropolitan, its work is enhancing the current poultry food and farming system to build a viable and equitable market system. In this market system, farmers are positioned as key players within the poultry value chain, and their poultry businesses are strengthened as they gain access to products, services, and markets.
The initial stages of the project focused on developing connections between 24 smallholder farmer producer organizations (POs) and providers of feed, veterinary services, and day-old chicks. These direct relationships are mutually beneficial for all parties – farmers can access affordable, high-quality feed from reliable suppliers and gain information from them about how to improve the production of their flocks. At the same time, input providers benefit from direct connections with their customers, enabling them to better understand their needs.
Cargill feed mill customers play key roles in unlocking the potential of smallholder poultry farmers by supplying them with high-quality feed. As of May 2021, four feed millers had started working with POs associated with the Hatching Hope project. Between March and April 2021, they delivered feed to up to 1,500 poultry farmer members in four rural counties totaling more than 17 tons.
Improving Access to Finance
Leveraging funding from Cargill and investments by Heifer Impact Capital and two banks totaling $1.36 million, Hatching Hope Kenya supports poultry farmers and other value chain actors to scale their operations. Two revolving funds focusing on different parts of the supply chain were established. The first fund provides loans for smallholder farmers to scale up their flocks, improve infrastructure and access veterinary services and feed. The second fund provides loans for small enterprises.
A separate investment of $450,000 from Heifer Impact Capital will finance the construction of a poultry processing plant in Kenya that will be co-owned by local farmers and Chicken Basket, a social enterprise working with women and youth in poultry production. It provides farmers with chicks, feed, and medication, as well as processing and guaranteed markets for their poultry products. The investment will be a combination of equity and debt. Investments like these ensure that the whole market system – from inputs to markets – works for smallholder farmers. In addition to increasing access to finance and other resources, Hatching Hope Kenya is supporting poultry businesses to be resilient in the face of threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The onset of COVID-19, followed by the Kenyan government’s movement restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus, led to broken input and food supply systems. A survey conducted by Heifer Kenya in October 2020 indicated that restricted mobility caused serious supply chain disruptions, making it increasingly difficult for farmers to carry out several important farm tasks, such as accessing supplies, animal health services, labor, transportation and markets. As a result, they have suffered income losses that affect their livelihoods and increase their vulnerability to the effect of the pandemic. Sixty-three percent of households reported a reduction in incomes by thirty-five percent, while eighty-two percent of the households confirmed that they were not able to access extension and animal health services in an efficient and timely manner. Worryingly, forty-nine percent reported having insufficient income to buy food.
To address this, Hatching Hope established a global Farmer Resiliency Fund with a $190,000 donation from Cargill. Hatching Hope Kenya was approved for $70,500 from the fund to directly restock 300 families whose flocks were decimated during the COVID-19 lockdown due to disease or household consumption. An additional 600 families will receive resources from the 300 families through Heifer International’s Passing on the Gift program. These families were not eligible for loans from a formal institution. The families will be selected from producer organizations associated with the Hatching Hope project. They will each receive poultry production packages that include 50-month-old improved ‘Kienyeji’ breed chicks, enough feed to last five months and vaccination services through connections to Community Agro-Vet Entrepreneurs who provide affordable animal health services. The families will also be connected to markets through poultry off-taker Chicken Basket. Improved production and market access ensure the farmers Hatching Hope works with can meet consumer demand. This support will help farmers to bounce back from economic shocks caused by COVID-19, enabling them to rebuild their incomes and livelihoods.