Poultry farmers get much-needed boost from mining firm

A poultry project being implemented by Base Titanium Mining Company is set to positively impact livelihoods in Kwale County.

The project aims at bolstering food security and nutrition as well as improving livelihoods by providing residents with an income source, according to the firm’s Community Relations Manager Mr. Pius Kassim.

It had only 25 farmers at the beginning but the number has since grown to over 350 over a period of three years with 80 per cent membership being women. Kassim said a further 200 farmers will be brought on board over the coming year.

He noted that the project relates closely to one of the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

The company is implementing various programmes which focus on improving livelihoods through agriculture. They include cotton, sorghum, potatoes, poultry, and vegetables production among others.

Through the livelihood programme our aim is to empower the community with a better quality of life that will outlive the life of our Kwale Mine, said Kassim.

He added that the livelihood programme leans towards cash crops to meet the objective of improved standards of living which is attainable through farmers selling their produce at competitive market prices to earn an income.

Farmers can then use the income from this venture to supplement their subsistence crops as well as meeting other household needs such as school fees and medical care, he noted.

Ms. Asia Swaleh, a farmer from Fihoni village who was in the first group of farmers to adopt the poultry initiative was given five chickens for a start after training on how to tend the chickens.

Today, her venture has grown to over 1,200 chickens that now form a major part of her livelihood.

I use the income from my poultry business to provide for my family needs like paying my children’s school fees, Ms. Swaleh said.

She further said the poultry business had improved her family’s quality of life over the past two years.

I have been able to move my children to a private school and I am also in the process of completing construction of a permanent house, she added.

Kassim said cooperative societies formed by farmers under the programme are partnering with the East African Breweries Limited to supply the brewer with sorghum.

The farmers have also signed an agreement with Australia’s largest value fashion company which directly purchases cotton lint from the farmers.

Source: Kenya News Agency