The government has partnered with World Bank (WB) to upgrade poultry farming that will see indigenous chicken production triple and help meet the country’s rising demand for chicken meat and eggs.
Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) Director General Dr. Eliud Kireger said the World Bank sponsored programme will in the coming six months help produce over 240,000 indigenous chicks compared to 78,000 produced previously.
This was against a demand of 300,000 chicks per month across the country, he added.
Dr. Kireger further said the country was currently producing 60% of poultry meat and 50% of eggs demand with the rest being imported from neighboring countries.
And noting that for years the research institution had been unable to meet the rising demand of the indigenous chicks, the Director General was happy that the newly introduced indigenous chicken has the capacity of laying 230-250 eggs per year compared to the local one that lays around 100 eggs over the same period.
Speaking at KALRO farm in Naivasha, however Kreger regretted that the cost of chick feeds continues to be the main challenge facing poultry farmers in the country.
He identified fish-meal which was one of the poultry feed ingredients as being very expensive for farmers, a move he said was raising the cost of poultry production.
However, he said KALRO was working with partners and researchers to come up with alternative sources of poultry feeds to help reduce cost of production for farmers.
On infections, Kireger said that KALRO had in the last couple of years come up with vaccines to contain the spread of poultry diseases like Newcastle which is highly contagious.
The in-charge of non-ruminant research in KALRO Dr. David Miano said many poultry diseases were viral and could be contained through vaccination, adding that they are working round the clock to produce more vaccines to combat the diseases.
At the same time, Miano admitted that the cost of feed remained a big challenge for farmers, adding that they had identified black-soldier-fly as an alternative component for poultry feed, which was cheaper.
By Esther Mwangi