Poultry farmers in Kirinyaga County have received a boost after the area county government embarked on production of chicken feed billed as affordable and of high quality.
The county government is manufacturing chicken feed through the Kirinyaga Agricultural Training Centre animal production unit for distribution to farmers engaged in a project in which the county seeks to have one million eggs a month. According to Governor Anne Waiguru, apart from saving farmers from the high cost of production, the feed initiative is also aimed at shielding them from acquiring substandard feed from unscrupulous dealers which can in turn affect the quality of the eggs. While launching the one million eggs project, Governor Waiguru said the feed factory, which is located in Kiaga, plays a major role in the success of the eggs project since the enlisted farmers are guaranteed quality source of feed.
Poultry farmers had cited lack of access to quality and affordable animal feed as one of the major challenges they face, resulting to high cost of production and their eggs un-competitive in the market. “The county government has provided free feed to 32 community groups involved in the first phase of the eggs project for the first six months. Thereafter the farmers will buy the feed from the factory at a subsidized cost,” explained Waiguru. She noted that the current production capacity at the factory stands at about 220 bags of 70kg chicken feed daily. So far the factory has produced around 13,000 bags.
Governor Waiguru noted that there are plans to expand the factory’s production capacity to accommodate farmers who have been incorporated in the second phase of the egg project and with time it will be big enough to sell feed to other farmers across the county.
Before the factory started producing, the county government, through the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Veterinary and Fisheries, ensured that the feed formulation was analyzed and certified by the relevant animal feed analysis and assurance agencies before being certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs). The feed is a combination of well blended carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins with some of the main ingredients being maize and omena. To avoid toxins the factory uses well dried ingredients only.
“The farmers and the people working at the factory have been well trained on proper storage, stock management and effective pest control in the feed. The factory is big enough to handle all the raw materials as well as the finished products and adequate loading and offloading space,” stated the Governor.