Thursday, June 26, 2014

Multifunctional farms, in rich countries only?

Lately, I went to visit a poultry farm a bit off Nairobi, to get inspired for my and my friend's poultry project. It was an impressive poultry farm, that was producing improved local chicken, quails, Guinea fowl, parrots, ducks and many others. Next to the amazingly spacious cages fulls of birds, the farm has also an impressive breeding space, with huge incubators and cages to keep chicks warm. An impressive farm, optimizing poultry production.

Guinea fowl
Next to the meat and egg business, the farm sells chicks and fertilized eggs from all the birds they have. What i really learned from them, is that consistency is key to Kenyan market (i.e. being able to always supply). As they cannot consistently sell Guinea fowl meat, they prefer to not sell, but wait until they can reach consistency before entering market : a smart way to not loose the market before one has penetrated it.
A just born chicken, still in the incubator
But what impressed me most about Ben, the farmer/owner of the farm was his vision of a multifunctional farm, just like those amazing farm i was visiting in the Netherlands during my PhD. He is dreaming of a farm where every day school classes are coming to learn about farming. And he already host regularly hosts classes. He wants to show young people that farming is not a second choice in life, it can be a very smart and good business.

one of the several incubators
But he has even bigger dreams, he hopes to have a small conference center and a camping so that people from Nairobi can enjoy not only his good meat but also the tremendously nice landscape he is living in and he co-creates.

The tremendously nice landscape just some kilometer away from Nairobi

Ben reminded me a lot of Jan Huijgen, the farmer who took up the initiative to get some funding to fund my PhD : a man with the vision to reconnect cities to their food. And as i have just learned, this is not just a European vision, it is also emerging in Africa...

Jan Huijgen
 Wanna make your own intercontinental comparison? Find here Jan's blog


  1. Hi Catherine,
    so nice and easy narrative but pleasant and empowering as is life in ILRI?

  2. this is sohel from UCL, BTW...

    1. Please send me an email to my cg account or via the form in my blog then I will answer to you privately -

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