Sh3m donor funding to farmers at stake as poultry project stalls

Members of Moro Widows Self Help Group at their incomplete poultry house at Moro Village in Central Nyakach, Kisumu County. [Kevine Omollo, Standard]

Farmers in Nyakach, Kisumu County, risk losing Sh3 million donor funding following a row with project implementers in a poultry project.

The 80 farmers, organised in four groups, have since moved to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in Kisumu accusing a local Community Development Committee (CDDC) of fund mismanagement.

The beneficiaries want the project accounts audited, and the portion already implemented reviewed to ascertain if the funds have been utilised well.

The groups; Moro Widows Self Help Group, Kusa Lower Youth Group, Kusa Beach Management Unit Integrated Development Youth Group, and Chung Malo Disabled Group had last year benefitted from Sh500,000, Sh1 million, Sh1million, and Sh500,000 respectively from the World Bank through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Programme (KCSAP).

The funding was aimed at boosting the groups’ climate-smart agricultural ventures whose implementation was to begin in December 2020.

Apart from poultry farming, the project had two other elements; nutrition mainstreaming and livelihood, which would see them supported in the production of vegetables and cassava.

With KCSAP identifying the project beneficiaries and supervising them, the 13-member CDDC selected from within the community was in charge of all the procurements.

Members of Chung Malo Disabled Group at their incomplete poultry house in Kotiang village, Nyakach, Kisumu County. [Kevine Omollo, Standard]

A spot check by The Standard yesterday, however, revealed that the four projects are yet to kick-off, with no chicks having been delivered.

Francis Odhiambo, the chairman of Kusa Lower Village Youth Group said the misunderstanding started late last year after the CDDC committee compromised the procurement terms.

“When writing the proposal for this project, we specified what we wanted and it was from the basis of our proposal that the funding was pegged,” said Odhiambo.

He claimed that during the construction of the poultry houses, the supplier delivered less material, some substandard, and declined to have the beneficiaries get an inventory of the material delivered.

According to Odhiambo, his group was to get 742 chicks, 106 bags of feeds, an array of poultry vaccines as well as equipment used in the project.

“We were to begin production late last year, and by May this year, we were supposed to have made our first sales, and then become independent. But as you can see, several months later, no single chick has been delivered,” he said.

The situation was the same at Moro Widows Group, where chair Magdaline Anyango said the incomplete poultry house is already falling apart.

“On the livelihood segment, we identified four acres parcel which we were to be supported to till and the get cassava seedlings. But nothing is going on on the farm. Every time we seek clarification, we are told this is goodwill which we have no right to push,” said Anyango.

Francis Odhiambo (right), the chairman of Kusa Lower Village Youth Group, in Kachianja village, Nyakach, Kisumu County. [Kevine Omollo, Standard]

At Kusa BMU, Nancy Achieng, the group chair said members have been waiting in vain for the project to start.

“Our project was among the first to benefit. Our worry is that phase two and phase three beneficiaries have already begun benefiting while we continue to watch these empty poultry houses fall apart,” she said.

A member of Chung Malo Disabled Group has since turned their poultry house into a store for cereals.

“We have even lost two of our officials. They died with the dream,” said Blastus Kwach.

Festus Bonyo, who chairs the CDDC Procurement Committee, admitted that there had been a delay in the project, but he blamed the beneficiaries for allegedly putting hurdles in the implementation.