Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Information guarantees alternative livelihood to a crops farmer

Changing climatic conditions have resulted to minimal rainfall amounts, a situation that has resulted to recurrent food shortages. Nguruman area has been known to have sufficient water for irrigation all year round. This has not been the case for the last two years and many farmers are now forced to reduce their acreage or diversify their farming options. Lack of promising markets and poor infrastructure has also contributed greatly to losses incurred by farmers.
Mr. Chege attending to his tomato crop
Mr. Peter Njoroge Chege one of the farmers came to Nguruman in Jan 2011 purposely to farm, so he rents a house in Entasopia shopping centre and also a farm to cultivate in the agriculture area.
Mr. Njoroge later learned that challenges that face farmers in Nguruman like hardships in access to the Markets at Kiserian, Rongai and Nairobi due to poor infrastructure increase production costs for farmers reducing their profits and sometime leading to heavy losses.
 Mr. Peter Chege feeding his poultry
‘I learned that apart from crop farming, I also needed to incorporate other micro agric businesses so that I maximize my profits in the area because I incur a lot of expenses’ Said Mr Njoroge. ‘I wanted a small scale agri-business I can easily handle and make something out of it with minimal expenses so I had two options, chicken and rabbit’ he explained .

In April 2011, Mr. Njuguna decided engage in poultry keeping. With little knowledge about poultry Mr. Njuguna visited Nguruman Maarifa centre to find out more information about the practice.
‘I went to the library section and found a number of interesting books that provided me with a lot of information about diseases, brooding and treatment’ says Mr. Njoroge. ‘At that time I only had 4 chickens’ He added
Poultry scavenging for greens.
Mr. Njoroge says he chose poultry because they are a quick source of income, they are easy to maintain and they are free range – they are allowed to move around the compound looking for food. He gets regular income from eggs and sometimes he sells the chicken.

 ‘I also learned that to maintain a steady egg production the chicks should be separated from their mothers’… he adds. His chicken also supplements his family diet providing much needed proteins. They also provide income through egg and live chicken sales.
Some of the challenges Mr. Njoroge faces includes diseases, predators and feeding challenges. He uses aloevera to treat all diseases that affect his poultry.

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