As the cost of living in Kenya keeps rising, many people are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs.
The situation is made dire by the thousands of graduates produced yearly, all of whom want to compete for the limited job opportunities.
Due to the lack of jobs, some end up employing themselves.
Such is the case for Victor Odhiambo Ouma, who rears improved kienyeji chickens for meat and eggs in Old Kendu Bay town.
His farm, dubbed Chak Achaka, has a 5,500 egg capacity hatchery.
This is his journey as told by WoK:
Ouma’s passion for agriculture was kindled when his efforts to seek a community health officer job were thwarted after he graduated from the Lake Institute of Tropical Medicine in 2017.
He thought of starting a project, either growing watermelons or rearing chickens.
He settled on the latter project because he had seen his father rear chickens successfully to raise their school fees.
To get the starting capital, he did menial jobs and raised sh 150,000.
He then bought 500 chicks for sh 100 each and also bought feed worth sh 60 000.
He also spent at least sh 10 000 on vaccines and other medicines.
The rest of the money was used on feeders and other equipment.
Luckily, the structures had already been put in place by another entrepreneur on government land that had been set aside to support budding entrepreneurs.
He therefore applied for an SME license and got the green light to operate.
Most of the 500 chicks he had bought survived to maturity, and six months later, he sold each bird for sh 750. The profit generated was twice his starting capital.
Ouma then decided to expand his venture by building a hatchery. He therefore bought a sh 95 000 incubator with a capacity for 1,056 eggs.
He also enrolled in an online course in poultry management.
Within months, his hard work and dedication paid off.
Business thrived as demand for meat and eggs from his farm grew, and he decided to expand the market by hatching chicks.
He also decided to start rearing ornamental birds like bantam chickens, geese, guinea fowls, and silkies.
Most of these birds he rears in enclosures.
Currently, his farm has four incubators and hatches at least 1500 chicks every week, most of which are sold to poultry farmers.
On his farm, he has reared at least 200 chickens and about 40 geese.
However, he says that although chicken farming is profitable, many farmers are abandoning the venture due to the rising cost of feeds.
For instance, 200 chickens consume 25 kgs of feed per day while chicks consume 15 kilos.
He cuts on costs via feed formulation, which involves mixing sunflowers, soya, maize, and other ingredients.
“I have leased several pieces of land for the crops. The maize, soya, and sunflowers are harvested, formulated, and given to the birds,” Ouma told Nation.
He added that the four acres of sunflower and soya can feed 1000 chickens for four months.
Aside from these crops, the birds feed on aquatic plants such as Azolla, which he grows in ponds.
The income generated on Chak Achaka farm varies, with the peak season being December when many families purchase chickens for the festivities.
Expenses include farm operations and salaries for his four workers.
The farm consumes at least sh 6000 worth of power a month, mainly to power the incubators.
However, frequent blackouts in the region have necessitated him to invest in a standby generator.