In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and businesses faced unprecedented challenges, and for Joyce Kiara, it was a period of immense adversity.
In the midst of economic uncertainty, she found herself forced to sell off her 2,000 chickens and 15 dairy cows, her primary source of income.
The lack of available markets for her produce and the rising cost of production left her in a precarious situation.
However, Joyce refused to let this setback define her future.
Here is her story as told by WOK
Joyce’s journey of reinvention began with a simple yet brilliant idea.
She turned to online platforms to explore new, profitable opportunities within the agriculture sector.
Through diligent research, she discovered the potential of ornamental bird farming, a relatively unexplored territory for her.
Armed with an investment of Ksh 30,000, Joyce ventured into ornamental bird farming, starting with just two pairs of silk bantam and turkeys.
Her clever use of existing infrastructure helped reduce her startup costs, a crucial aspect of her success.
However, she soon realized that to thrive in this new venture, she needed to diversify.
Joyce wisely chose to complement her ornamental bird farming with aquaculture, a practice that demands substantial resources, meticulous disease management, proper habitat, and attention to the unique needs of the birds.
Her commitment to continuous learning and adaptation was a cornerstone of her progress.
Recognizing the educational value of her farm, Charis Farm Naivasha, Joyce sought a license from the Kenya Wildlife Services to rear wild birds like peacocks.
This unique addition attracted a growing number of visitors interested in ornamental birds, further boosting her income and turning her farm into an educational center.
Today, Joyce’s business has flourished beyond her wildest dreams. She now boasts 150 ornamental birds from 20 different species, with prices ranging from Sh 7,000 to Sh 350,000 for the stunning peacocks.
Her diverse collection includes polish bantam, silk bantam, dotted guinea fowl, pheasants, ducks, turkeys, bearded booted bantam, and many others.
But Joyce’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there.
“Beyond ornamental birds, I have diversified my agricultural business into dairy goats, kitchen gardens, rabbit farming, azolla, black soldier flies, among other enterprises,” she proudly stated during an Interview with Mtaa Wangu.
Additionally, Charis Farm has transformed into a demonstration farm, where Joyce trains farmers from far and wide on proper agronomical practices.
This commitment to sharing knowledge not only benefits the broader community but has also led to the employment of five individuals across different sections of the farm.
Of course, Joyce’s journey has had its fair share of challenges. She emphasizes the high cost of bird feeds and the importance of maintaining impeccable hygiene and disease prevention in ornamental bird farming.
To tackle these issues, she has adopted organic methods, such as planting black jacks around the coops to keep pests at bay. Her commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices aligns with the modern ethos of responsible farming.