Chickens are the newest residents at ten of our Nanny Project Farms in Hedaru, improving breakfasts every day! Each year the farmers choose a new product to add to their farms, and this year, poultry was the unanimous winner in the unofficial farmer poll. It appears that it was a good idea.
Ten farmers are participating in this farm expansion using the model Empower Tanzania has developed.
They attend a 3-day seminar on poultry keeping. They are taught how to build chicken houses and take care of their birds, including how to make the feed from local available products, and how to keep the birds in a clean environment to prevent disease. They visit a few very successful poultry operations, and are able to ask questions and see the concepts in action. They return home, and are responsible for building a chicken house, at their own expense, and getting everything ready to receive the birds. Once they pass inspection by the committee, they get 5 females and a cock.
Tunzo Simon is so inspired by a woman he saw raising 300 chickens, and the concept that this could be much more than just a small family business, he has built a chicken house large enough for 200-300 birds, and has plans to expand to as many as 500. Mr. Simon’s response, when asked about his training was, “I am seeing poultry in a whole new way. The old Tunzo is now gone, and in his place is a new Tunzo with a much larger vision!”
Tunzo is one of the original Nanny Project farmers, and was elected by his fellow farmers to be the leader of the farmers in the project. His job is to visit the sites, encourage the individual farmers, and help the committee identify and organize training that will help the farmers grow and expand their farms. He is instrumental in the success of the program.
In fact, this is exactly what Empower Tanzania hoped for. According to the Same District Livestock Officer, nearly 50% of the chickens currently being sold in the local markets are coming from South Africa, because this part of Tanzania has a terrible chicken shortage. The District would like to dramatically expand chicken production among local farmers, and is offering a five-day course to prepare farmers to do large-scale poultry production. The District Government is very much in favor of Empower Tanzania adding poultry farming to our Nanny Project, so as we expand into new locations in 2014, we will expand under the new name “Integrated Farming Project” and begin farms with a choice of either chickens or goats. We anticipate that more than half of the sites will choose to begin with chickens.