Gilbert Gitau is a 21-year-old young man residing with his grand mother in Oloitoktok. At a young age, Gitau fell ill and the disease quickly spread throughout his body and affecting his limbs and his motor skills. Agriculture therefore became a difficult subject in school to participate in due to his physical condition. At the beginning of 2023, Gitau joined the Red cross program based in Oloitoktok, in the Adherence treatment support program by Africa Pro poor Tourism development center, as a volunteer. He serves on the program by providing drug treatment literacy to people living with HIV and AIDs.
Gitau learnt about Wezesha from his friend. This did not spur a lot of interest or enthusiasm as the program focused on agriculture. However, his friend encouraged and nudged him to visit. Upon his visit to the farm, Gitau was captivated by the technologies showcased at the farm, specifically the solar egg incubator. He learnt that despite his disability, he could set up an agribusiness venture into hatchery. His interest in the technology and training on entrepreneurship and business skills kept him coming to the farm until he completed and graduated in April 2023.
Gitau’s decision to venture into poultry farming business is equally informed by the data collected by Wezesha on the baseline studies. Data shows at approximately 85% of women attending the Wezesha program keep chicken. Rural poultry farming is essential for the livelihood of many resource-poor farmers often being the only asset they possess. It significantly contributes to: (i) improving food nutrition, providing food (eggs and meat) with high quality nutrients and micronutrients; (ii) generating a small income and savings, especially for women, thus enhancing the capacity to cope with shocks and reducing economic vulnerability; (iii) providing manure for vegetable garden and crop production.
Gitau enjoyed the Home Economics training and identified a strong association between improved gardening and poultry-raising practices (chicken and egg) production. From the lessons and skills gained at Wezesha on establishing kitchen garden models, he plans to establish a small kitchen garden at their compound which he believes he can easily manage by himself. From his poultry farming, he will be able to collect organic manure which will significantly contribute to the production of healthy nutritious vegetables which he will be able to sell and generate additional capital to expand his poultry business.
To celebrate Gitau’s commitment to Wezesha, upon his graduation from the program, AIS donated 50% towards the purchase of a 64 egg incubator valued at Ksh. 60,000/- Gitau’s friends joined in to fundraise to generate the balance. In the month of June, GIZ together with AIS handed over the solar egg incubator to Gitau and his grandmother to kick start the agribusiness venture. The handover ceremony was held at the demo farm.
To support his hatchery enterprise, Wezesha plans to incubate the business at the farm. Through incubation, Gitau will be trained and receive expert technical advice and assistance from the Wezesha partners and stakeholders involved in this value chain. In addition, Wezesha will provide Gitau’s hatchery business access to market to the potential 580 farmers visiting the farm in the current cohort 2 program. Gitau will also receive support from the Ministry of Agriculture, specifically from agribusiness program to strengthen his business skills to ensure economic viability of the hatchery.