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A poultry outgrower scheme getting it right

A poultry farm in Nakuru Kenya known as Naxveg Kuku Fresh Limited has come up with an outgrower scheme model of business to help achieve numerous sustainable agricultural objectives for farmers.

They supply the farmers with birds, inputs and improve sustainable sourcing practices by connecting smallholder poultry farmers into mutually beneficial partnerships with large buyers such as restaurants. This increases smallholder farmers’ incomes from improved yields and quality output, through access to credit and markets.

During an interview with Naxveg Kuku Fresh founder Mugereki Mwathi, he says that they thrive in providing ready market farmers. “These farmers face a lot of challenges when it comes to post-harvest handling and are not empowered to store or process these chickens,” says Mwathi. “We then come in and relieve them of this burden because we realized that when they slaughter the birds and take them to the market themselves, consumers take advantage of them.”

Naxveg Kuku Fresh Limited handles the hygiene of slaughtering and packaging. They also offer storage facilities to the farmers for what the market is not able to absorb immediately. “What we do basically is to eliminate the pressure from the farmers’ side that what they have must be sold on the same day or else they will suffer a complete loss,” he says.

Mwathi further explains that before getting into the value-added space, they used to sell animal feeds to these farmers. After realizing that it was becoming hard for the farmers to get financing, they decided to change this into a value-added business for all parties involved by providing the farmers with inputs, and take away the chicken from them at an affordable price of kshs 350-400 which he says keeps varying depending on the market value.

“Our main aim is to grow with them and make them sustainable.” Naxveg Kuku Limited.

A positive aspect for Naxveg Kuku Limited enterprise is that they have had a ready market for the chicken since their launch in 2019;

They sell to restaurants, hotels and individual customers both fresh and frozen chicken meat from which they earn a commission. Currently, they are experiencing low sales due to the negative impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the hospitality industry.

Asked how they select these farmers, Mwathi explains, “These are farmers we have worked with before and we carefully select people who have the capacity to grow based on …… Our main aim is to grow with them and make them sustainable.” They have maintained quality standards in terms of how their chicken hatches are built and the feeds and vaccinations used.

As an outgrower scheme that is just starting out, Mwathi says the uptake has been quite slow compared to pre-corona period and the pandemic impact almost knocked them off the market but as a business enterprise they have maintained resilience, by focusing on the future and that is what has kept them on the move. There is also hope for the enterprise as AgriBiz comes in to offer them technical advisory as well as financial support.