Geoffrey Kago’s poultry farm, Kaki Village Enterprises currently stands at a value more than Ksh10 million. It can easily pass as an enterprise that started with a firm footing considering the success that the 36-year old has had in poultry farming. But far from what it is now, the success story of Kaki Village Enterprises is one of gradual growth fueled by a passion and innovation.
How did he start?
Geoffrey Kago started the chicken farming activities that grew into Kaki Village Enterprises in 2002, with an initial capital of just sh600. His passion for poultry farming, however, is something he had since he was very young. He bought his first chicken from his mother in 1985 for sh20 when he was only a standard 4 kid. He says that he was inspired by Nelson Muguku, the legendary poultry farmer in Kenya who has made billions from the business.
From that one chicken he bought from his mother, Geoffrey made such an income that he never had to rely on his parents for upkeep or even school fees. It was an exotic breed, the Transylvania Naked Neck, which has no feathers on the neck. This breed of chicken breeds very fast, which is the reason why he chose it. From it, he was able to breed about 200 chickens in a year, which he sold locally for a good profit.
Money, profit, independence and satisfaction
The business was doing so well that Kago was able to save enough money to pay for his high school education from form two through to form four, at Nyeri High School. “I loved the sense of ownership,” Kago says with an obvious satisfaction from the independence he got from rearing chicken at such a young age.
His innovations in poultry farming
As a young chicken farmer, Kago had known the problems that came with traditional hatching. This drove him to conceptualize an electric incubator while in high school. The school natured his interests and innovations in poultry farming and in while he was in form two, he developed the incubator which won him first place in science congress at the district level and second place at the National level.
After high school, he worked as a carpenter and did several other businesses that enabled him to raise the sh600 that he used to make his first commercial electric incubator. That formed the beginning of Kaki Village Enterprises. In addition to making commercial electric incubators, Kago started making Candlers for checking eggs’ fertility and training farmers in the basics of poultry farming and chick hatching.
He now has 3 branches, also rearing ostriches, quails, ducks and guinea fowls.
Since he started practicing poultry farming as a business, Geoffrey Kago has been able to expand his enterprise into three branches. He has a hatchery in Eldoret where he also develops incubators for sale.
His five acre poultry farm is in Laikipia and it is there that he also conducts training for upcoming poultry farmers in Kenya. The farm is more of a nature center where he demonstrates other forms of poultry farming apart from chicken rearing. He has kept some rarely bred birds such as ostriches, quails, ducks and guinea fowls. He charges sh2500 per head for training.
He established his third branch at Gitaru, along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway to bring his business close to the capital, where he has access to a larger market. On this branch, he has about 200 ‘Kienyeji’ chickens, 1000 quails, six ostriches, 60 guinea fowl, 30 turkeys and 10 geese on just half an acre of land.
Kago says rearing other birds other than chicken can be more profitable than sticking by the traditional poultry farming practices. He argues that, for instance, guinea fowls are grazers and quails consume a tenth of what chicken would require for feeds. These breeds are also more resistant to diseases compared to chickens. One would require a license from Kenya Wildlife Services for them to breed such birds as quails, geese and ostriches. Kago says that there are quite a number of farmers that have these licenses but none of them is yet meeting the market demands.
Kaki Village Enterprises has now diversified into the production of milling machines and feed mixers. He says that farmers can use such machines to produce high quality feeds for their livestock right at their farms. The machines cost about sh600,000. Some of the stakeholders that have bought his innovations include the Ministry of Agriculture, KARI, Africa Medical Research Fund and several NGOs involved in poverty alleviation projects in Kenya.