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EXCLUSIVE: Why poultry will soon be one of the most coveted farming ventures

By Sammy Waweru January 19th, 2024 2 min read

Poultry is poised to become one of the most competitive farming ventures, not only in Kenya but globally.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the sharp increase in the human population is driving the demand for chickens.

Additionally, people are becoming more conscious of their diet due to lifestyle diseases.

The majority, however, are foregoing red meat in favor of white meat, with chicken being one of the most sought-after.

“Poultry is transforming into a huge industry, especially in urban areas,” said Dr. Stephen Gikonyo, FAO animal production expert, in an exclusive interview with Nairobi News.

According to the FAO 2018 report, the consumption of poultry meat and eggs is projected to rise to 92,000 tons and 245,000 tons by 2050, respectively.

The number of chickens worldwide has more than doubled since 1990.

In 2021, there were approximately 25.8 billion chickens globally, up from about 13.9 billion chickens in 2000, according to Statista, a German online platform specializing in data gathering and visualization.

As the poultry sector is projected to grow, FAO warns that if not well managed, it can present itself as a threat to public health due to the emergence of zoonotic diseases associated with animals and humans.

“We need to be prepared to avoid possible negative outcomes,” suggests Dr Gikonyo of FAO.

The UN organization runs several empowerment programs in the agricultural and poultry sector in Kenya, including the promotion of biosecurity measures during the production process and slaughtering of chickens.

FAO recommends raising the birds in a hygienic way, according to the World Animal Protection (WAP) international standards.

WAP is a global domestic and wildlife animal watch organisation fighting for animals’ rights.

It is estimated that about 27 million chickens in Kenya are slaughtered outside unlicensed facilities, with 10 million of them sold and consumed without being inspected by veterinary professionals.

Dr Gikonyo advises, “Slaughtering should be done in places that meet set standards and those that are examined, free from communicable diseases, and wear protective gears to avoid spreading pathogens”.
Farmers are also urged to source chicks from registered hatcheries and control the population within the farm to reduce disease incidences.

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