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Former sales representative quit working for a real estate

Carolyne Oloo, a poultry farmer in Kisumu town, is among the many young people who have discovered the hidden treasures in agribusiness.

During a recent tour of her farm located at Okore area three kilometres from the town’s Central Business District (CBD), we found a vibrant young farmer. After a warm reception, she took a short break from her daily farm chores to tell us about the gist of her work.

So, how did you Oloo end up in this lucrative venture? The concept was borne out of passion she had developed for farming. And she shocked her peers mid last year by quitting a job in real estate as a sales representative to become a full-time poultry farmer.

With the idea well conceived in her mind, she never paid attention to negative narratives people associate with farming, especially the elites. She had some little knowledge of keeping chickens, which she proceeded to put it into practice.

Oloo started the poultry business in July last year and is now scaling the heights through keeping broilers. “I got into farming from my heart because it was my long- time aspiration.  So, when that opportunity came, I could not let it go,” she says.

“With a stock of about 200 broilers I acquired at Sh78 each from Kenchic Limited, I was ready to propel my dreams of farming to another level,” she explains.

After being impressed with the bumper proceeds generated from the first stock, she went for another batch of day-old chicks. This brood likewise ended up giving her even good returns. “Due to the good profits I got, I was confident the enterprise would be worthwhile, which inspired me to continue,” says Oloo.

Today, the 36-year-old farmer has mastered the techniques of poultry keeping, an activity she does with the assistance of one employee in her farm. She keeps the birds from one-day-old chicks until maturity, when she slaughters them for sale in local markets.

Rearing the chickens and slaughtering them is already earning Oloo good fortunes. She says the birds take between five to six weeks to mature. “Though the production process seems tedious and dirty work, it is viable because I fetch good money out of it,” she says.

On average, she sells between 20 and 100 chickens daily, which translates into at least Sh200,000 as monthly income. To ensure the business does well, the farmer has discovered the advantage of doing things differently from her competitors —value addition to improve on quality.

For instance, the farmer marinates (adds flavour with different spices) to the slaughtered chicken before they are sold for consumption. This gives her clients an alternative to choose from as customers can also buy plain chicken at the farm.

At her Zera Poultry Farm, a full slaughtered chicken weighing on average 1.2kg is marinated with spices to enhance the price to Sh650. A similar but plain chicken goes for Sh450. She also sells chicken parts such as drumsticks, gizzard and bone breast at various prices.  Local hoteliers and families remain her major customers.

“Poultry agribusiness is viable in this region: most of my clients come right to the farm’s gate.  I also do door-to-door delivery at the customer’s cost,” says Oloo.  For fast and healthy growth, the birds must be put on proper feeding mode besides regular vaccination using vaccines recommended by accredited veterinary officers.

Initially, things were not all that rosy for the farmer as she incurred losses from keeping layers. Due to challenges such as disease, she became impatient with the hens and switched to the broilers after getting advice from another farmer.

The farmer says she erred by rushing to invest in layers as she had not prepared to bear the risks in that venture. She ended up losing about 50 out of every 250 kuroiler birds she had acquired at Sh100 each.

“A fellow farmer who had excelled in keeping broilers advised me that rearing chicken for sale as meat  was more viable and she convinced me to try it,” Oloo says.

This prompted her to dispose of the survivors and replace them with broilers. She cites high cost of feeds and diseases, which often afflict the birds as main challenges.  Currently, she has a stock of about 800 birds in various growth stages, ranging from one to five weeks.

As a routine, she is yet to place another order so that her farm does not run out of stock. “I place orders for the chicks early to ensure there is continuity in the supply chain,” she adds.

Consequently, Oloo is braving for better prospects ahead and is keen on becoming one of the prosperous poultry farmers in the lakeside county. Her plan is to scale up the enterprise with the goal of generating additional income in future.

Oloo says agribusiness is an enterprise with plentiful of opportunities that the youth can go for if they aspire to live a dignified livelihood. “Young people must not wait to amass huge resources to venture into meaningful business. With a little space and cash, you can make a difference in the society,” she advises.

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