The weather is chilly as we navigate through Kikopey trading centre, the small town in Nakuru County popular for roasted goat meat.
Some 200 metres from the meat hub sits the Gilgil Poultry Centre. The centre, which hosts a poultry school, is run by a group of small farmers with the aid of an NGO.
It sits on half-acre, with the centre comprising of poultry houses, a hatchery, a school and a slaughterhouse.
Inside the building that is the school, there are several posters explaining the best aspects of poultry farming. One poster is on feeding chicken, another on house construction and the last one on vaccination.
A group of farmers sit inside the hall on neatly arranged plastic chairs waiting for their trainer. It is Thursday and the members of the Mazao Bora Cooperative Society are meeting here to learn and share experiences on poultry matters.
The society is made up of small farmers from villages in Gilgil, who came together to form the poultry school, besides saving for loans, to boost their agribusinesses.
On this day, the farmers are meeting courtesy of Global Civic Sharing–International, an NGO, which supports them.
Away from the hall inside a small poultry house Fedrick Omamo, the project co-ordinator feeds some 200 three-week-old broiler chicks.
The batch, he says, would be ready for the market in three weeks. However, the farming at the centre is practised more for training than for commercial purposes.
Samuel Kioko, the project manager, says they started the centre about three years ago to train farmers and make Kikopey a poultry hub, where small farmers can produce poultry products for local and national consumption.
To start, Kioko says they looked for farmers who had space to rear chicken, giving them 50 chicks as start up capital.
However, as the project was going on, demand for training arose as some farmers faced challenges in keeping the chickens leading to the setting up of the centre.
“Together with the farmers we set up the poultry excellence centre so that people can learn everything about poultry, from rearing to marketing,” explains Kioko, noting currently they have 500 broilers and 900 Kienyeji birds at the centre.
To solve some financial challenges they faced, the farmers joined hands and formed the cooperative.
“We save Sh500 per member every month and access loans through the cooperative society,” says Loise Njanja, the treasurer.
The NGO is in the process of handing the farmers the training centre, which they would now run fully. Dr Githui Kaba, a veterinary officer in Nakuru says many farmers lack training and face financial challenges, therefore, having a centre boosts their agribusinesses.