Emmanuel Ragot, a 29-year-old poultry farmer at his farm in HomaBay County. [Courtesy]

As food prices continue to rise, more questions are being raised about the future of poultry production, processing, and the expected consumer demands. Four years after the first case of Covid-19 was detected and amidst these challenging economic times, we must explore all feasible options regarding how poultry will be raised, processed, marketed, and distributed in the future supply chain.

Although the price of chicken is currently below that of other meats (such as beef, lamb, mutton, fish, and pork), price alone will not be the only formula for a win for the future of poultry producers. Let’s examine a few tips on sales and marketing and other winning solutions.

Value creation – better, the same, or worse than the competition?

Value addition helps differentiate ourselves from other protein suppliers to the next generation of customers by adding extra value over and above the original value of your poultry products. This applies to products, services, and delivery that a farmer can enhance on a day-to-day basis to attract more consumers. You can portion the whole chicken into breast halves, poultry halves, winglets, drumettes, breast quarters, leg quarters, legs (drumstick + thigh), gizzards, and necks. These can then be packed separately and priced based on demand and clientele. Other areas to consider include marination and packaging.

Last-mile delivery

The last-mile phenomenon has gained traction in the supply chain system since the Covid period. In the food industry, it simply refers to the last leg of your journey to your customer from your farm to the table, also commonly referred to as ‘farm to fork’. As a farmer, it will be crucial that, upon placement of an order, the product must arrive on time, in full, and not damaged at all. It creates a lasting impact on the customers’ feelings about your product and your company’s image. Things to avoid include unfulfilled promises, added costs, failed deliveries, miscommunications, and changes in product quality. The last Covid-19 pandemic has taught producers to adjust their route-to-market channels. More and more products are now being delivered to customers at the press of a button. Jumia Food is the leading convenience delivery service in Kenya; such a model has been well-accepted in the market. Take advantage of door-to-door delivery.

Product knowledge and Product quality 

Product knowledge is extremely important in any fast consumer goods industry like ours. Every product must have its unique selling proposition (USP). As a farmer or integrator, you must dig deeper to understand why your eggs, chicks, chickens, or further processed poultry products are better than those from the competitors. You must be able to explain how your chickens are grown and their meat processed and why they are safe for human consumption. Did you know that chicken meat provides vitamins and minerals required for brain development in children? Vitamin B12 and choline are essential for brain development in young children. Chickens can also be grown to maturity without the use of antibiotics, growth promoters, hormones, and other retroviral drugs.

Use your network groups to your advantage 

Please try selling your eggs or chickens to your immediate family members, friends, workmates, relatives, and neighbours so that you can easily reach out and chat about your newfound side hustle. You can use your phone to reach potential clients, physically meet your ‘chama’ friends, and communicate by word of mouth.

In this age of mobile technology, there are numerous platforms available for marketing your products. Some of the internet-based applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok, etc., can be used to send texts, messages, digital photos, and videos to promote your business. The single impediment to successful poultry farming has been the reliance on middlemen or brokers to market and sell your products. Do not be a broker in this business.

Differentiate your product, innovate, diversify 

What will make your product stand out? You need to give your customers something unique, different, and distinct from other players. Innovate, and add value to your product.

[For more information, please contact me on watsonmesso@yahoo.com]