Beatrice Kirui operates a thriving farm in Kiamunyi, Nakuru, where she manages an impressive array of animals. Her farm currently houses 3,000 chickens, 30 rabbits, three cows, and two goats. The chicken pen, constructed using iron sheets and wood, is a one-story structure with each unit accommodating 1,500 chickens.
The egg production from this simple yet efficient setup yields between 70 and 80 trays of eggs every day. Beatrice primarily sells these eggs at a price of Sh310 each, mainly to wholesalers, hoteliers, and bakeries in the Nakuru area.
The rabbit pen, although smaller in size, follows a similar one-story design, with each unit accommodating 15 rabbits. Additionally, the farm compound includes a servant’s quarter, a brooding house, and a kitchen serving the farm workers.
Despite her busy schedule, Beatrice manages her farm while working with a seed company in Uasin Gishu. She typically visits her farm only on weekends. To ensure the smooth operation of her farm, she has employed four workers. Two workers take care of the poultry, while another looks after the dairy cows, rabbits, and goats. The fourth worker serves as the general manager, overseeing the farm’s day-to-day activities, including sales monitoring.
By keeping meticulous records and tracking everything that happens on the farm through her phone, she is able to estimate her earnings accurately. Beatrice emphasizes the importance of trust in her employees, considering her limited physical presence on the farm.
Beatrice’s passion for farming blossomed three years ago when she joined a women’s merry-go-round group in Kiamunyi estate, located along the Nakuru-Kabarak Road. With the initial Sh30,000 she received from the group, she ventured into poultry farming and subsequently expanded her enterprise to include cows. Starting with a structure and 100 chicks, her poultry business has grown significantly to house 3,000 chickens.
Despite doubts from some of her friends, who believed that her quarter-acre land was too small for meaningful agribusiness, Beatrice has proven that one can successfully engage in multiple farming projects on such a farm.
Her land generates over Sh650,000 in monthly income, with the majority of the revenue coming from the sale of eggs. She allocates approximately Sh60,000 for monthly salaries and Sh100,000 for chicken feed expenses. Every aspect of her farm contributes to her income, including selling chicken waste as manure at Sh700 per 90kg bag, as well as utilizing it for crop cultivation.
Beatrice’s three cows, consisting of two Friesians and one Ayrshire, produce 50 liters of milk daily. She sells the milk at Sh35 per liter. Additionally, the cows contribute to her monthly savings of at least Sh6,000, as she uses biogas generated from their waste for cooking and lighting her home.
One of Beatrice’s rabbits is kept for her son, who became interested in rabbit rearing due to his friends’ involvement in the same activity. Depending on their size, she sells rabbits for Sh500 to Sh700 each, with fellow farmers being her main customers. Furthermore, one of her dairy goats will soon start producing milk after giving birth to a kid, further boosting her income.
Inspired by Beatrice’s success, five members of her chama (savings and investment group) have followed in her footsteps. They now keep between 100 and 500 layers on their own quarter-acre plots and have plans to diversify their farming endeavors.
Professor Paul Kimurto, a lecturer at Egerton University, describes Beatrice’s farm as a demonstration of how Kenyans can effectively utilize small plots of land to earn a decent living. He challenges individuals who own plots in urban areas to view them as farms rather than just residential spaces and focus on maximizing their income-generating potential.
Despite lacking an agricultural background, Beatrice’s hands-on experience and willingness to learn have propelled her success in livestock farming. She uses various methods, such as assessing a hen’s cervix to determine if it will lay eggs, showcasing her dedication to acquiring knowledge on the job. She advises aspiring poultry farmers to follow recommended vaccination practices and remain vigilant against diseases like fowl pox.
One of Beatrice’s main challenges is the high cost and poor quality of chicken and dairy feeds. She recently experienced losses due to substandard chicken feed that resulted in weak eggshells and white yolks. She emphasizes the importance of sourcing quality feeds to avoid such setbacks.
In conclusion, Beatrice Kirui’s farm exemplifies the profitability and potential of farming in Kenya, even on limited land. Through her hard work, strategic management, and dedication to learning, she has achieved remarkable success in various agricultural ventures, inspiring others to follow suit.