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Eric Ochanji


Poultry plays an important role for poor farming households in Kenya, and Future Focus Programme (FFP) analysis indicates poultry production presents a major opportunity to improve their incomes. In Kenya, up to 75% of farmers raise small free-roaming poultry flocks. Rural poultry production responsibility is shared among the family members but is predominantly managed by women (63%) and children (18%). Culturally, chickens are often viewed as a smaller asset and thus, “left” to women to manage.

“Exotic” chicken breeds—those suitable to rapid, large-scale operations—dominate commercial poultry production in Kenya. Smallholder farmers are unable to benefit from exotic chicken production due to the high capital investment required for housing, high feed costs, and the exotic breeds’ unsuitability to rural farming systems and susceptibility to diseases. Of the 29 million chickens in Kenya, over 70% are indigenous breeds that are locally adapted to rural environment conditions and preferred amongst consumers. This preference is verified by market fundamentals—consumers are willing to pay a premium of 20% to 30% for indigenous chicken meat. However, limited local production has resulted in low productivity and high retail prices, thereby constraining consumption.

Kenya’s consumption of chicken has dropped from 0.76 to 0.63 kg per capita per year from 1990 to 2007, (well below the global average of 12.6 kg) due to high poultry prices, and the perception of chicken as a food for “special occasions.” Given Kenya’s annual population growth of 2.6%, expected increases in income of 3.6% per capita per annum, and the growing preference for healthier white meat, FFP expects current poultry demand in Kenya to grow at 4% per annum over the next 5 years, or ~1.6 million additional birds annually. This unmet latent demand for indigenous chickens is attributable to a fragmented supply chain and weak marketing system, effectively locking out millions of farmers from accessing growing urban markets for indigenous poultry products.

Smallholder poultry farmers, the majority of whom are women, can migrate from subsistence poultry farming to income-generation with their existing stock of indigenous chickens, a small additional investment, and training. Indigenous poultry production is a relatively low-investment activity that can be undertaken alongside other farming activities. The biggest challenges to the indigenous poultry sector include expensive poultry feeds, disease control, and access to both day-old-chicks and markets. We will reduce the barriers presented by these challenges.

Future Focus Program (FFP) proposes to organize smallholder women and men farmers into Poultry Producer Business Groups (PPBGs) and to facilitate their investment (~$8 per farmer) in rural-based poultry marketing enterprises, providing farmers with access to poultry inputs and technical assistance to improve income-generating opportunities for poultry production.



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Eric is working on selecting a charity so you can support Chicken.