LATIA RESOURCE CENTER POULTRY PROJECT FOR INCOME GENERATION IN KAJIADO

Changing The Community On Woman at a Time

A Partnership Project with Monsanto Fund

 

Introduction:

Latia resource Center (LRC) is a Kenyan Social Enterprise established in 2008 to provide training and business support services to farmers, pastoralists and agribusinesses in Africa. LRC believes that the modernization of agriculture and improvement in food security in Africa can be greatly enhanced by effective practical training, adequate dissemination of knowledge and technology and the provision of business support services to farmers, pastoralists and Agribusinesses. Over the years LRC has grown and set itself apart by putting social impact as its overriding end objective and employing innovative, agile business thinking and processes to meet the needs of its key customers the farmers, pastoralists and agribusinesses. LRC strives to increase agricultural productivity in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner. It provides access to knowledge, appropriate technology and mentorship to farmers, pastoralists and agribusiness to yield healthy crops and livestock and sustainable agriculture practices.

1n 2010 LRC started a Poultry project targeting mainly local Maasai women who bear the burden of feeding and caring for their families while their menfolk migrate with Livestock in search of pastures or move to urban areas in search of employment. The project’s main objective was to introduce poultry keeping as a means of increasing household food security through incomes and well as supply of eggs and meat.  The project trained the women on improved production of indigenous poultry and facilitated and assisted them to acquire a startup breeding stock, feeds and vaccines. The project also facilitated beneficiaries access to markets for eggs and chicken. Over 500 women were trained and supported between 2010 and 2015. In 2016 project activities were halted to allow an evaluation exercise and design of the next phase take place.

The evaluation examined the relevance, performance, management arrangements and success of the project and also looked at signs of potential impact of project activities on the community and direct project beneficiaries. It reviewed the sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development, identified key lessons and made recommendations for improving the design and implementation of the next phase of the projects under the program. The project was found to have had positive impact on beneficiaries with most of those interviewed indicating that their incomes and food security had improved. The feedback from this evaluation formed the basis of the new poultry project to be started in 2017.

Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company and is focused on strengthening both farming communities and the communities through provision of funds for food and nutrition, education, and community development projects around the world. The fund has supported one more project at Latia which involved development of Agriculture Apprenticeship Program targeting youth in Kenya. Latia Apprenticeship provides opportunity to youth interested in Agriculture to learn in a practical set-up and secure employment or start their own enterprises after the program. This current collaboration is geared towards strengthening Latia’s capacity to reach marginalized communities with training and business support services which will improve their livelihoods.

Purpose Of The Project:

The Maasai pastoralists in Kajiado is struggling to adapt to rising temperatures, erratic rainfall patterns and other effects of global climate change. The probability of drought has increased to once every three years, and cattle herd sizes have decreased as a result of increased mortality and poorer reproductive performance. This decrease in livestock numbers has increased food insecurity and compromised the sole dependence of pastoralists on animals and their products. The traditional pastoral coping strategy of herd migration is no longer effective in dealing with drought, disease epidemics as well as other disasters. Many pastoralists have been forced to adopt other means of earning a livelihood including crop farming and keeping of alternative livestock like poultry. LRC supports poultry production because it is a culturally acceptable practice for Maasai women that address both the food insecurity and income generation needs of the household. Poultry provides scarce animal protein and can be sold or to generate income.

Project Approach

In this second phase of the Poultry project LRC has adopted the “Farmer Field School” approach as an innovative organizational structure that allows women to receive poultry training, production inputs, and market access on a sustainable basis. Developed by FAO in 1989, the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach is based on an innovative, participatory and non-formal interactive learning approach which builds on indigenous knowledge. Through experiential learning, farmers are trained to analyze their situation and make informed decisions about their livelihood practices. Groups of 25-35 farmers meet regularly over a season to conduct analyses, identify problems, design, carry out and interpret field experiments comparing traditional farmer’s practices and improved practices learned through the FFS. This approach reduces the risks involved in self-experimentation and empowers people who have not had access to formal education. Through poultry FFS experience, LRC will help the beneficiary communities to sustain food production, and initiate new income generating capacity. This in turn will build the resilience of beneficiaries’ livelihoods by equipping them to better cope with current and future shocks related to climate change.

Project Objectives

The project objective is to assist 2,500 pastoralists’ women from the semi-arid Kajiado County in Kenya improve their income and food security through raring chicken. The women will be trained and given start-up capital and later linked to market for the surplus chicken and eggs that they produce.

 

 Project Activities

1.1. Set up farmers field schools

The Project will set up 50 poultry FFS groups consisting of a total of 2,500 members. Each field school will set up a demonstration enterprise and receive 16 chicken that will be used for the training of members. The demo enterprise will also receive feeds and drugs to last one production cycle (12 months). The feeds will be produced using locally available raw materials to ensure that FFS trainees can replicate their production once they set up their own enterprises. Training at the demo site will take place during a full production cycle in order to be able to produce eggs and manage their own chicken enterprise.

1.2. Training of Farmers

50 facilitators selected from the villages will be trained and they will meet regularly with the FFS members to discuss, experiment and validate poultry production and disease management techniques suited to the local context. Topics covered within the FFS will included the design and construction of poultry coops using locally available materials and providing good levels of bio-safety and bio-security. Training activities will be focused also on accurate bookkeeping, marketing and accumulating savings for re-investment in the enterprises.

1.3. Provision of start-up capital for beneficiaries

Beneficiaries will first be trained at the FFS demo site that will be built by the project in one location owned by a group member. Upon attending training and constructing housing that meets the standards set by the field school each farmer will receive a start-up breeding stock of 4 chicken and some feeds and key vaccines needed in the initial 3 months. The trainee will also need to demonstrate the willingness and ability to provide feeds once the initial supply from the project has been exhausted before they receive the breeding stock. At the end of the first laying cycle each farmer will give 4 chicken back to the project to be distributed to more farmers in the project.

1.4. Linkage to markets for surplus chicken and eggs

Project beneficiaries who generate surplus eggs and chicken beyond their domestic consumption will be assisted to access markets. The project will organize the FFS into production clusters and introduce value chain players including buyers for eggs and chicken as well as suppliers of inputs like feed ingredients and drugs.

1.5. Project Implementation and Administration

LRC will appoint one project officer who will undertake day-to-day operations of the project. The project officer will responsible for identifying potential FFS site, recruiting and training of facilitators as well as reporting on project activities. The project officer will be supported by an administration team in finance, procurement and logistics. The officer will also be supported by technical experts from LRC on issues relating to training and markets.

1.6. Project Sustainability

The FFS approach adopted by the project will be participatory and dynamic process which will allow members to learn by themselves, using comparative experiments and accurate observation skills. The FFS will enable them to better respond to any livestock production and health risk as well as crisis challenges. After the training period, the farmers will continue to meet and share information even without a facilitator. The project will encourage FFS groups to carry out visits to one another so as to facilitate knowledge exchange among different regions. As such, the project will catalyze a continuous learning process and exchange of good practices and innovations, ultimately enhancing farmers’ knowledge, productivity and nutrition. The marketing activity will bring the FFS groups together into appropriate entities like cooperatives and self-help groups which will ensure that the poultry enterprises are continued.

1.7. Project Timelines

The set up project will be for a period of 12 months starting in January 2018.