Benard Osunga is a Migori based farmer whose turkey business has proved to be a goldmine. He lost his first business in Nairobi when the pandemic hit forcing him to relocate to his village, where his focus shifted to turkey farming.
Education and Employment
After getting his diploma in Human Resource Management, Bernard had to grapple with the unemployment facing many graduates. To survive, he did various odd jobs and even worked as a construction worker.
He later on secured a job with an insurance company with a Sh20,000 monthly salary.
In 2018, he quit his job and ventured into the unpredictable world of business. He started a butchery and a fast food business which grew to be valued at about Ksh500,000 prior to Covid-19. When the pandemic hit the county, his sales went down and the profits plummeted. This forced him to sell the business at Ksh110,000. He then settled accrued debts and was left with Ksh30,000.
Venturing into Turkey Farming
Returning home to Migori, he barely had anything. He needed a way to sustain his family and decided to get into turkey farming. Growing up, he had seen his grandfather rear the birds.
Osunga bought four turkeys, three females and one male, from a farmer in Nyatike early 2021. Having no finances, he would graze the birds. They started laying eggs in April the same year and from the initial four, he got 40 chicks.
He told a local daily that he rears 100 birds in a given season. He said that he chose turkey over chicken since they are more profitable and require less capital. Unlike chicken, the turkeys meals are 75% grass. The price of a turkey egg goes for an upward of Sh350 while a two-months-old turkey goes for Sh1500. On the other hand, he sells mature turkeys between Sh10,000 to Sh15,000.
To market the business, he depends on social media and referrals. He said that honesty is very important and he was able to secure a deal with a five star hotel in Nairobi.
Apart from income, turkeys also act as security since they make noise whenever a stranger shows up in the compound. They also make for good mothers and can be used to hatch chicken, guinea fowl and geese eggs.
To gain more knowledge about the business, the Migori native learns a lot on YouTube. He hopes to be able to maintain about 250 birds per season. He also trains others willing to get into the business.
The major challenge in the business is insecurity and wild animals. There is also a huge risk of diseases, especially from one to six weeks. Turkey chicks are fed on chick mash and vaccinated at four and seven weeks against Newcastle and fowlpox respectively. They are also fed multivitamins in the first three weeks of their lives.