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Mistakes most poultry farmers keep making




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Dr Denis Mujibi is a senior researcher in animal science and the CEO of Usomi Agriculture Limited, a firm that provides technical services to poultry farmers. He spoke to Elizabeth Ojina on what farmers should do to get it right in poultry keeping

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. There has been an egg glut in the market that has seen prices of eggs decline to Sh200 a tray. Poultry farmers are blaming it on influx of cheap eggs from Uganda, what is your take on the situation?

The problem with our lack of competitiveness arises from production inefficiency. We don’t produce enough of the raw materials required to formulate poultry feeds affordably.

Our production costs are too high, majorly because the yield per acre is low (about 30 per cent of global average).

Uganda produces all the raw materials needed for production of livestock feeds like sunflower, maize and soya at very competitive prices.

My advice is that to be competitive, we should strive to use alternative grains such as sorghum and millet instead of maize when making poultry feeds.

Kienyeji chickens are all the rage currently but some farmers are abandoning them citing high costs yet consumers are not willing to pay premium price for products. What should one do to have a productive Kienyeji poultry farm?

Having a profitable enterprise requires that the farmer understands the basics of minimising input costs and maximising returns.

Which means there should be sufficient knowledge of what professional poultry production entails and the pitfalls there in.

Training helps one plan out their operations effectively. To increase profitability, farmers should consider a breed that grows fast and with a good feed conversion efficiency.

The improved Kienyeji breeds are not only bred to have much of the resilience and hardiness of the pure Kienyeji, but also have better feed conversion efficiency and good production potential.

Understanding the target customer will also help you choose the right breed of chicken to start with. Some people want the tough meat and yellow flesh of the pure Kienyeji, while others want the less chewy type provided by the improved Kienyeji.

Some customers want a small bird, while others want bigger birds. Understanding your customer is key to profitability. Overall, make sure that you source your chicks from authentic sources.

What are some of the mistakes poultry farmers keep making?

There are many things that farmers don’t do right. To begin with;

Sourcing of day-old chicks: There is an epidemic of poor quality improved Kienyeji chickens because everybody is hatching chicks. Most farmers do not understand the basis of a hybrid chicken, so they do not ask the right questions when buying chicks.

Poor quality feeds: A good quality feed will allow a bird to express its full potential for growth and egg production.

Most farmers buy poor quality feeds either because they are cheap or the appropriate feed is not available in their local agrovets.

In the long run, cheap is expensive. Farmers need to get a well-balanced feed ration that provides all the macro and micro nutrients needed.


Inadequate clean water: A chicken requires sufficient amounts of cool clean water to meet its daily needs. Chickens drink a lot of water. If water is unavailable, the chicken will not feed and their production will suffer.

The water must be placed in a shaded area if in a free-range environment or if housed, it should not be from a tank heated directly by the sun. If you can’t drink the water, then the chickens shouldn’t drink the water either.

What is that advice you never tire to tell the farmers you work with?

Do not cut corners: Do the right thing and do it diligently. Get information first, source for authentic breeds, buy good quality feed and observe best management practices.

Go for training: Ignorance is no defence. Arm yourself with the requisite knowledge to avoid obvious mistakes. Read a lot about poultry production to move towards precision farming.

Engage a professional: Long important journeys are not travelled alone and please know that poultry farming is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

It will take a while for everything to fall into place. Get a professional or a more experienced farmer with whom you can exchange ideas while also learning new things.

Ask when in doubt: Do not engage in guesswork, be it for managing a disease issue, or feeding or sourcing for breeds.

Ask. However, be wary of what you read on social media. A lot of the information is unfiltered and unsubstantiated. Be friends with your local agricultural officers and knowledge partners for authoritative and well-researched solutions to your problems.

What are things a farmer should know before starting a poultry farm?

House design: A well-designed house must orient along the axis of the sun such that the east and west ends, which are fully covered face where the sun rises and falls.

This prevents the sun from shining directly into the poultry house at any time of the day.

Feed and water: Water is a critical component of poultry farming. Do not restrict the amount available to the chickens. Replenish the drinkers with clean water whenever it gets warm or dirty.

Make sure you have enough feeders for your chickens. Chickens should not crowd at one feeding point.

Markets and marketing plan: Sourcing for markets should not be done after the chickens attain market wait. Make sure you have an idea of where to sale before starting.

Health management plan: All chickens, including Kienyeji ones, ought to be vaccinated against poultry diseases. This ensures that whenever there is an outbreak of disease, they have a higher chance of survival.

Biosecurity: Prevention is better than cure. Ensuring proper biosecurity means minimising chances that your chickens to come into contact with infectious agents.

Free-ranging space: Kienyeji chickens must be kept in free-ranging environment, not confined in a house.

The ability to scavenge for feed, sand bath, get access to vegetation and forages is what makes backyard chickens truly Kienyeji.



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

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Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

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Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

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