Dorep Hatchery Project Faces Collapse17 October 2011
KENYA - The collapse of the Dorep project has left farmers facing losses.
Farmers who have invested thousands of shillings (KES) in what has been a lucrative poultry business for years now face an uncertain future, according to The Nation of Kenya.
Dorep, a firm that entered into an agreement with hundred of farmers spread across the country, is no longer purchasing poultry and their products.
The members are now stuck with thousands of eggs and have no idea where to sell them.
A pioneer farmer, Sammy Ndung'u, recently borrowed KES200,000 from Agriculture Finance Corporation, which he all pumped into the Dorep poultry project.
He explained: "Since early last year, I have been getting good returns and I reasoned that since market has never been a problem, I could put up more chicken houses and purchase more chicks from Dorep. The chicks are four months old and I am worried I will not have a market for the eggs when they start laying in a month."
An egg from superior breed of chicken – a cross breed of indigenous bird and one from Turkey – costs between KES20 and KES40.
Dorep chicken are heavy feeders and one can weigh up to eight kilogrammes for a cockerel that can fetch KES1,500.
Dorep, which has officials in major towns in Central, Rift Valley and Eastern provinces, has instructed farmers to stop the weekly supply of eggs until further communication.
The firm says farmers are to blame since most of them failed to adhere to instructions for producing quality eggs.
"We have incurred a loss of over KES20 million after farmers supplied us with sub-standard eggs which failed to hatch," explained Stephen Ndung'u who is in charge of breeding at Dorep head office in Thika. "Others brought eggs from layers which are not meant to produce chicks."
The official argues that due to skyrocketing price of chicken feeds, farmers have resorted to buying sub-standard feeds, which affect the fertility of the eggs.
He added that the problem was being sorted out but in future, farmers would only be paid after the supplied eggs hatch to minimise losses.
The firm has been buying the eggs which they put in their incubators in Nyeri and Kikuyu in Kiambu County. The Nation reports that, once the eggs hatch, they sell a day-old chick for KES90 with the buyers being assured of a ready market for the eggs.