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Ditching Sales & Marketing For A Career In Poultry Farming, Mary’s Success Story.

In the past, people were non-challant about breeding birds or cultivating crops for profits. But with the burst in population and demand for food, people are now beginning to realise the potential of providing the most important basic need of man.

The desire to inspire and prove to her own local community that they could earn great money even with their small farms prompted Mary Wangui Wahogo from Mang’u Location, Gatundu North Constituency, to venture into poultry farming and defy the common thinking about agriculture and self-employment.

Mary says that it was the high time people, especially the youth and women, thought beyond formal employment and sought greener pastures in business and agri-business ventures which guaranteed more freedom and great returns.

She reckons that the people in Mang’u area do not own big farms, a factor that had led to many of its residents to disregard farming as a business. Compared to their neighbouring districts, Mang’u too lacked the kind of cash crops that were propelling other areas into wealth creation. It is for this reason Mary is calling on her fellow community members to venture into poultry farming, which she says, needed littles space to rear and guarantees ready market.

“Mang’u is not blessed with tea or pineapples just like our neighbours. Our coffee no longer fetches us any money. And considering that we generally own small farms, venturing in ventures such as poultry farming can be of great benefit, considering the fact that we have a ready market in Thika and Nairobi, said Mary.

“Instead of running to seek employment which is rarely available, our people should start thinking beyond formal employment through job creation. When I myself was employed, I earned good money which only benefited me as an individual. But now I earn good money and has employed another person out of this business,” she added.

She argues that being self-employed helps one to broaden one’s scope of thinking and reasoning, not forgetting the freedom and proceeds that came with it.

Having talked to a people who were already in that business, Mary discovered the value of poultry farming, a factor that drove into rearing broilers and layers in their average size ancestral land. She asserts that if the poultry farmer is meticulous and diligent in how they set up and run their operations, they are assured of huge return on investment.

“Poultry farming is a viable business anytime any day; and to be sincere with you, it is currently one of the most lucrative businesses in the country. It is a business that anyone can pursue and with limited capital and resources,” she said.

Her training in sales and marketing has helped her a great deal in running her poultry business.

“I have been implementing the knowledge and skills learnt in sales and marketing to run and manage my business which has helped me a lot in anticipating the challenges and taking advantage of potential markets. I also consult experienced poultry farmers who share their experiences to us thereby helping young farmers like us to perfect the trade,” she said.

She has been using her farm as a demonstration project for schools, women and youth groups whom she trains with the aim of encouraging to venture into self-employment.
She points out that anyone can start a poultry farm regardless of the amount of capital they have.

“I started with only 200 1-day old chicks and I now have 700 layers. I recently disposed of my flock of broilers and I intend to bring more chicks soon. I usually tell these boys that they can start with five chicks even when in school. These birds will give you eggs that can sustain your pocket money as you gradually grow your flock. I have been encouraging the women to raise a few chicks that will earn them more money that going for casual labour that earns them only sh. 200,” said Mary.

Mary is encouraging the youth and women in her area and the country in general to form groups and combine their forces so as to start up their business ventures. She argues that different people possess different skills and talents which when combined, can make great strides in business. She also says that it is easier for a group to access institutional services and funding than when is one is working out a business alone.

She says that this kind of farming gives the farmer so much freedom and flexibility to handle other matters of concern. It also guarantees returns within a very short time. Layers start laying eggs in four and a half months’ time as broilers mature in just 4-5 weeks.

She says that it is always advisable for the farmer to seek for their market well in advance to avoid disappointments and losses when the time comes to sell the produce.

She adds that she also uses the manure gotten from her birds to grow crops such as maize and vegetables that add to her income. The feeds remnants especially from the broilers is also fed to the dairy cattle to boost their milk production.

However, she says that it is not all rosy in the poultry business as they are faced with a number of challenges.

If the farmer fails to adhere to the feeding and health programme of the chicks, she says, they are likely to incur a great losses or even lose the whole flock. This calls for great observance of cleanliness, feeding and watering of the birds as well as in their behaviour.

The prices of poultry feed has been the greatest challenge in this business since they barely leave any profit margin for the farmer.  Mary also accused the manufacturers of compromising the quality of the feeds they sold to farmers, affecting the output in terms of egg production and meat quality in broilers.

The high banks’ interest rates has been another big impediment as most farmers start these projects through loans borrowed from banks. This has resulted to very many of them having their property auctioned so as to recover the debt owed to these financial institutions.

Mary is therefore appealing to the government to protect the farmers from exploitation by unscrupulous feed manufacturers who compromised on their quality, thereby causing the farmers great losses. She was also of the opinion that the government controls bank interest rates as they were so high and a big detriment to the growth of small-scale poultry farmers.

She is also appealing for more incentives to the farmers from the government and other bodies so as grow this sector and improve the standards of living for the small-scale farmer.

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