By Bob Aston
Vulnerable families drawn from Sipili area of Ol-Moran Ward in Laikipia West Sub County received Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) improved indigenous chicken through Laikipia County Household Economic Empowerment Programme (HEEP). The beneficiaries received 600 improved indigenous chicken at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre on April 21, 2016.
The County government through the County Development Authority is implementing HEEP under the principle of creating empowerment and self-reliance among beneficiaries. The project intends to address socio-economic challenges facing the population of Laikipia County.
|One of the beneficiaries receiving the month old chicks|
The other beneficiaries received the chicks at subsidized cost. Instead of paying Kshs 250 each for a month old chick, they paid Kshs 150 while the County paid the remaining cost as well as transport.
Mrs. Elcy Kigano, Laikipia West HEEP Technical Officer said that the project targeted people living below the poverty line. She said this would help to reduce the poverty level in the county, which stands at 47 percent.
She said that they decided on indigenous poultry due to low cost of production compared to exotic poultry. She noted that cost of feeds is lower as they can free range. They are also tolerant to many diseases, which reduces veterinary cost. The KALRO improved chicken also weigh more compared with other breeds.
“The County government decided to empower communities at the household level as it deemed it as the best way of eradicating poverty. We are promoting profitable agribusiness in Laikipia County which can help vulnerable communities improve their income,” said Mrs. Kigano.
She said that the project adopted a group model and cost sharing approach with beneficiaries to ensure sustainability of the various initiatives. The enterprises involved include dairy goat, indigenous chicken, rabbit rearing, and kitchen garden.
She said that after six months the beneficiaries would be able to manage 50 birds. In case they get 30 hens, they can manage as much as 300 chicken afterwards. She noted that this would ensure that the beneficiaries are not only food and nutrition secure but are also able to support their families through proceeds from poultry farming.
“We expect that after six months the vulnerable people in the community will improve their income from less than Kshs 100 per day to Kshs 300 per day,” said Mrs. Kigano.
Part of HEEP implementation involves community mobilization, capacity building, acquiring, and distribution of HEEP components as well as monitoring and evaluation. Various groups across the 15 wards of Laikipia County have so far benefited through the various components of HEEP.