In remote Turkana County in northwestern Kenya, USADF funding is supporting the alternative livelihood of raising broiler chickens among a primarily pastoralist community. Awarded a USADF expansion grant of USD $119,091, Napucho Community Based Organization (CBO) was among the first USADF grantees of the Turkana Food Security Program in its inaugural year, 2011.
The Lodwar-based CBO began raising poultry in 2006 as an alternative to cattle, which has long been fraught with the risks of drought and cattle theft. Prior to its USADF grant, Napucho had begun with a rocky start when the majority of its birds died due to a lack of proper infrastructure. The group equally lacked cold storage facilities and any means of transport to markets. At the time, most chicken in Turkana was sourced from Kitale, a town about eight hours from Lodwar along a dangerous road, subject to frequent carjackings. Eating poultry in Turkana was also uncommon and expensive.
The USADF grant allowed Napucho to transform its business into the leading poultry operation in Turkana County. Napucho used USADF grant funding to expand its production capacity, hire qualified staff, invest in lasting infrastructure and purchase a generator and two freezers in which to store the birds once slaughtered. Hotels and businesses from surrounding areas now come from several hours outside of Lodwar to purchase Napucho’s goods since it is the only modern poultry operation in the County. Recently the Ministry of Agriculture’s Turkana office sent its staff to the Napucho farm to learn more about poultry farming techniques, and to award Napucho two egg incubators. This serves to increase Napucho’s capacity and reduce the cost of its operations.
Napucho’s annual profits more than doubled from 2011 to 2014, which the CBO’s leadership attributes directly to USADF’s support. Since 2011, the average flock size has quintupled, increasing from 200 birds per flock to over 1,000 birds raised and sold every eight weeks, allowing Napucho to meet market demand.
Napucho’s USADF grant came to an end in September 2014, and some of its impacts are only now becoming visible. Napucho recently reinvested profits into its business for further expansion—purchasing a much–needed generator and an additional freezer to allow for consistent cold storage and reduced spoilage during Lodwar’s frequent power cuts. The CBO’s plans for further expansion include producing its own feeds as opposed to sourcing them from Kitale, a move which will both lower production costs and benefit the community by supporting local grain producers.
Napucho is greatly appreciated by the community not only as a model business but also for the benefits it provides to members, staff and the larger community. The CBO has used remaining profits to pay school fees to send five children of its members to school. Elizabeth, 88, has been a member of Napucho since it started. She used to rely on her family for an income and food, but is now self-sufficient, buying herself clothes and paying her medical bills. Likewise, Wilbat, 30, is a Napucho employee who now earns enough income to support his family and send his children to high-quality private schools. Throughout Lodwar and Turkana County, individuals, hotels, and businesses appreciate Napucho’s role as the County’s leading source of reliable, low-cost protein and an important contributor in Turkana County’s food security.