John Gitonga did not know what to do after he dropped out of a teacher training college for lack of fees. His world came crushing down like a house of cards, but Ksh5,000 hit his refresh button to open his entrepreneurial mind to opportunities around him.
But what can five thousand do? It can buy a small goat or a suit or two or three pairs of shoes. Really nothing more; it cannot take you back to school either.
On his parents’ half acre land, Gitonga’s mind rang vegetables. The loan he got from Solution Sacco was not enough, but he could plant vegetables and sell it locally to see where it could take him. Or he could buy a few chicks to rear on the same farm.
He chose the latter: “I was convinced that I could start a poultry farm after seeing eggs and poultry meat were in high demand from restaurants, butcheries and other kiosks within Meru town,” Gitonga told Sacco Review when we visited his farm.
It was the birth of Dolex Poultry Farm in Gatibi area of Imenti Central Sub-county, Meru County.
After joining Solution Sacco in the year 2019, he began a vegetable farm, which he never dropped even after coming up with the poultry venture. The idea was to get a loan that could open doors. He reasoned that as the chicks grow, he needed some support from the vegetable farm, which was fetching a little profit.
Starting off with 100 hens, he made sure the stock was replenished with new chicks hatched at good intervals that would meet the increasing demand for eggs and meat.
His passion was growing with every sale, and it was easy to manage and monitor the health of his chicken as they were close by.
With his business expanding, he realized he could rear more chicks for sale to other farmers. He bought an incubator that could hatch 5,000 chicks at a go.
5,000 in 21 days was such a lucrative business that he quickly engaged with his Sacco to purchase raw materials for feeds such as soya and maize.
He says apart from the Kienyeji chicken, he has also ventured into rearing other species including ornamental birds.
He sells a day-old chick at Ksh100 and a 3-week old one at Ksh250, fetching him a good return of no less than Ksh200,000 a month.
“I am happy that I am making good cash from the sales. Youth should focus on starting such small businesses which can grow to become big enterprises now that we have Saccos which offer financial support for capital,” Gitonga advises those who still wait for employment after school.
For his efforts, he has employed other youth from the area.
“My work here at this farm is to feed the poultry and other birds and ensure that where they stay is clean to protect them from diseases. I get a good salary and I am happy,” William Kinyua, an employee at the farm, says.
He, too, urges youth to venture into farming rather than staying idle or just focusing on white collar jobs.
The farm owner encourages youth that they do not have to purchase incubators at the start but use the hens themselves to hatch.
Though his customers are local, he is focusing on expanding his business to reach other counties.
He repays his loans stress-free because of the easy installments, and he can still expand, buy raw materials, pay home bills and save money for family emergencies.
By Jeff Mwangi
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