Scaling Poultry Businesses with Technical Support
December 15, 2021
By Elizabeth Wambui
Chris Adhola, Bora Cooperative Community Agrovet Entrepreneur, Hatching Hope Kenya project
Heifer International and Cargill’s Hatching Hope Kenya project have partnered with the County Governments in Kenya to support smallholder poultry farmers by recruiting Community Agrovet Entrepreneurs (CAVEs) and Sub County Livestock Production Officers in Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay, and Migori counties.
“The Hatching Hope project has recruited 44 CAVEs who will provide extension services and technical training to poultry farmers in our partner farmer organizations. We have also recruited 13 Sub County Livestock Officers who will on the other hand support and mentor the CAVEs,” says Dennis Ogaso, Hatching Hope Project Livestock Production Officer.
This education on poultry farming enables farmers to become active and competitive players in the poultry value chain.
Technical training for farmers
Chris Adhola is one of the CAVEs recruited through the Bora Cooperative where he had been a board member in charge of production for the last six years. He is an animal health technician by profession, and when the opportunity arose to join the Hatching Hope project, he opted to resign from his position in the board and become a CAVE serving farmers in Rarieda Sub-County in Siaya County.
Since his recruitment in December 2020, Chris has trained approximately 150 farmers on topics such as chicken management, housing, breeding, health and vaccination, with the goal of helping farmers increase their flock size and generate income via poultry farming.
“When conducting my trainings, I refer to the training manuals provided by the Hatching Hope Project. The manuals have been resourceful as they provide clear guidance on how I should handle each topic when training. The training manuals has also helped in increasing my knowledge on poultry production as the information is well summarized and easy to understand,” he says.
Chris adds, “We were also provided with brochures to distribute to farmers, which I do after each training session, and the farmers appreciate these materials because they are a summary guide on poultry keeping practices.”
He uses a needs-based approach to conduct trainings, visiting farmers at their farms, identifying their needs, then scheduling group trainings. Later he follows up to ensure that after trainings farmers replicated the practices on their farms.
Chris training Lillian on egg storage, selection and grading for hatching.
After Chris identifies farmers who have made significant progress from his training sessions, he organizes farm visits where their farms become model farms, and they become Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) for upcoming farmers. This act builds on two of Heifer’s 12 cornerstones, ‘Passing on the Gift’ and ‘Training and Education.’ One of the farmers, Victor Ochieng, received mentorship from Chris.
Victor is a member of Ten Young Brothers Group, a group under the Bora Cooperative. He currently has a flock size of 147 chickens, of which 140 are improved indigenous, while 7 are local breeds. One of the best practices that led to the identification of his farm as a model farm was his ability to conduct hatching synchronization successfully. He started with four hens sitting on eggs, which hatched 46 chicks. Currently, he has seven hens sitting on 111 eggs due to hatch in 11 days. The other best practices Victor adopted include proper chick management, constructing a simple poultry unit that meets the poultry housing guidelines, and keeping local hens and selling them, which has enabled him improve the stock of a shop he owns at Ragengni market. He has also promoted of the consumption of eggs in his household.
“At first, Victor did not believe that his farm could become a model farm where people come and learn from him. He is, however, more than glad to pass on the gift of knowledge to his fellow farmers,” says Chris.
On March 22, 2020, Chris mobilized 20 farmers to visit Victor Ochieng’s farm. He believes these visits are eye-opening experiences for the farmers as they gain confidence in what they are doing and realize that they can use the resources available to them to launch their businesses.
Farmers viewing Victor’s poultry house.
During the exposure visit, Chris stepped back, allowing Victor to lead by sharing his experience and knowledge. Some of the topics covered include factors to consider when setting up a poultry house, the importance of animal health and vaccination, chick placement and brooding, which done through hands-on training. The area Community Facilitator, Truphosa Ochwore, concluded the session by sharing Heifer’s Values-Based Community Development approach and its 12 cornerstones. After the visit, Chris planned to follow up with the farmers to monitor the progress they have made in their respective farms.
Bora Cooperative farmers participating in a sit-down session at Victor’s farm.
Besides being an extension officer, Chris owns two Agrovet businesses by the name Ranalo Kits Agrovet located at Rageng’ni and Aram market.
“Immediately after college, I bought a kit to allow me to offer extension services to farmers. It is that one kit that enabled me to open up my first Agrovet, thus the reason for naming my Agrovet Ranalo Kits Agrovet,” says Chris.
“The Hatching Hope project has enabled me to increase my clientele since I get to interact with many farmers at the community level when on duty. Most of my farmers know my Agrovet shops and when in need of my services or purchasing any products, they get in touch with me or visit my shop,” he adds.
Chris Adhola’s Agrovet
With technical expertise in feed formulation, Chris is looking at venturing into the feed formulation enterprise so that he can be a source of feed supply to his farmers.