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Farmer finds value in incubators.

By ELIZABETH OJINAFor Kennedy Oracha a poultry farmer in Mambo Leo estate, Kisumu, the saying necessity is the mother of invention rings true. Five years ago, the farmer who had 50 kienyeji chickens decided to enter the business of hatching eggs.

After consultation with his father, the diploma holder in Agriculture from Bukura Agricultural College bought a 880-egg capacity incubator imported from China at Sh95,000."I sourced most of the fertilised eggs from other farmers and agrovets since I didn't have enough. After 21 days, the hatching capacity stood a about 30 per cent which was below my expectation," said the 32-year-old farmer.

Apart from being sold unfertilised eggs, he realised the incubator had technical hitches due to the extreme temperatures in Kisumu."Most of the incubators are made of metal casing.

In Kisumu we experience extreme temperatures which might interfere with the required humidity and temperatures for hatching of the eggs. I was challenged to look for an alternative solution," says the father of one.

He adds: "So I decided to fabricate incubators using wooden casings. I consulted carpenters and after many trials and errors, I made the first automated 1320-egg capacity incubator which I sold for Sh60000." And just like that, Kenter Farm Enterprise was born.

Oracha's incubators have both humidity and temperature sensors, a mortar for turning the egg trays, humidity tray at the bottom and fans for cooling heaters."With my incubator the farmer is guaranteed good results.

The plywood is able to maintain optimum temperature and humidity for at least four hours even when there is a power outage," says the young innovator.Amos Amenya, an agronomist at Lake Basin Development Authority says the innovation has helped farmers get affordable machines that are effective.

"What is important is to regulate the temperature and humidity for hatching of the eggs. The eggs are supposed to rotate or turn after a period of time.

If this is maintained then the machine is good," says Mr Amenya.He advises the farmer to consider fitting into the incubator a variety of egg trays to accommodate all sizes of eggs.

LIFTED HIM ECONOMICALLYbrKenter Farm Enterprise makes incubators of different sizes with various egg capacity. The smallest incubators has 176-egg capacity and goes for S0,000, 265-egg capacity (Sh55,000), 528-egg capacity (Sh65,000), 1,056-egg capacity (Sh95,000), 1,320-egg capacity (Sh120,000) and 5,000-egg capacity (Sh250,000).

"Our incubators are affordable and efficient than imported ones. We want poultry farmers to benefit from the innovations done locally," says Oracha.

In a good month the enterprise make sales ranging between Sh200,000 to S00,000. The farmer has a large market in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Trans Nzoia, Busia, Kisii, Vihiga and Kakamega counties. Oracha quit his research job at National Irrigation Board in Tana River County in 2014 to fully concentrate on his incubator enterprise.

Aside from the incubator business, the farmer hatches and vaccinates chicks for sale. A day old chick goes for Sh100, a week-old chick goes for Sh150 and one a month-old chick costs Sh250.The enterprise has employed seven staff members a farm manager, two fabricating assistance and four marketers.

br"I have trained my employees to fabricate the incubators. Usually I design the incubators theirs is to join the parts and fit the electric parts.

I get the electric parts for incubators form Nairobi," says Oracha.On a normal day, the farmer wakes up at 5am to market the incubators on social media before going to the workshop.

During the days he liaises with his employees on marketing and delivery of the products.Normally the smallest incubator takes about two days to be complete while bigger incubators with egg capacity of more than 3,000 takes at least five days.

"The innovation has opened so many doors in my life. It has uplifted me economically.

Last year Kenter Farm Enterprise bought a vehicle for transport of the small incubators," he says.The enterprise, however, has faced its fair share of challenges ranging from marketing hitches to cases of dishonest employees.

Oracha plans to set up major workshops for the fabrication of incubators and hatcheries across the country and export market.Related Stories
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 26, 2018
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