Nelly Bassily | September 19, 2011
For over a year, Kenyan media have reported that the high price of maize is forcing farmers to change the way they raise their poultry. According to Business Daily, the price of chick mash (a maize-based high protein feed offered to chicks up to eight weeks old) has risen 40 per cent since December 2010 − from 2,700 Kenyan shillings (around US$28) for a 70kg bag to 3,500 shillings (about US$37).
Read more about alternatives to maize, and the technical requirements for feeding and raising chickens at: http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/274/livestockSpecies
Issue 28 of The Organic Farmer (scroll down the page to download Issue 28, September 2007) from: http://www.organicfarmermagazine.org/tof/all_tofs
To read more about Mr. Gikuni and her fodder shrubs, visit: http://www.new-ag.info/en/focus/focusItem.php?a=2180
This FRW story from Cameroon shows that high feed costs are not a new issue in Africa:
–Cameroon: Chicken farmers hit by high food costs (FRW 44, November 2008)
In this script, a farmer describes another alternative feed:
-A Kenyan farmer uses water hyacinth to feed chickens (Package 90, Script 15, April 2010). http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/90-15script_en.asp
This script written especially for Farm Radio Weekly describes an invention which has increased poultry production:
These scripts discuss related issues, including the superior ability of native livestock to survive lean periods, and ways that chickens help in the garden:
-The role of native breeds in maintaining livestock health: Story ideas for the radio (Package 63, Script 3, April 2002). http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/63-3script_en.asp
-Chickens fertilize and weed the garden (Package 39, Script 4, April 1996). http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/39-4script_en.asp
You might wish to host a call-in/text-in show that invites livestock farmers (including chicken farmers) to discuss their methods of coping with higher feed costs. Some questions to ask include:
-Where do livestock/chicken farmers get their feed (for example, do they grow it themselves or buy it)?
-How has the price of feed changed in the past year?
-Have farmers been forced to reduce their livestock numbers as a result?
-Have any farmers sought alternative feed sources, such as on-farm fodder, to maintain their livestock?
-Have farmers faced challenges associated with using alternative feed sources (e.g., availability, quantity, or palatability)?
-Do they know of particular livestock breeds that can tolerate lean periods? Are there trade-offs when raising more tolerant breeds?
-Has the price they receive for meat/ live animals increased?