Poultry farming groups in Kirinyaga County are smiling all the way to the bank.
The egg hatchery business they ventured into with the support of the county government has started paying dividends.
At least 19 poultry farming groups earned Sh1 million after selling over 10,000 chicks they had hatched in February this year. They benefited from egg incubators which they use to hatch chicks and supply to farmers across the county.
The increased number of chicken farmers and growing demand for white meat within and outside the county has helped boost their business.
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They are part of 473 community-based organizations that were funded by the county government to undertake various agricultural projects such as poultry keeping, pig rearing, beekeeping, tomato and avocado farming, and fish and dairy farming.
Muki Vision from Mutira ward, Decent Haso from Thiba ward, and Kandongu Mukathi from Mutithi ward are leading the egg-hatching venture.
The groups had hatched 2,056, 1,640, and 1,365 chicks in that order as of February this year. Members said the incubators project has opened new revenue streams for their families.
"We used to take a lot of time to hatch enough chicks to distribute because we only relied on layers to produce chicks. As a group, we had no financial capacity to buy the incubators but the county government helped us and we are now reaping the fruits of this investment," said Benard Njeru, an official of Trailblazers Youth group from Baragwi ward.
Governor Anne Waiguru gave out 19 incubators and generators for power backup in the first phase of the project. Each one of the machines has the capacity to hatch at least 1,050 chicks.
"This project has economically empowered residents to diversify their agricultural activities and reduce over-reliance on traditional cash crops whose prices are unreliable," she said.