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Socio-economic impact

Measuring economic performance (Ewbank et al., 2007) presented a challenge given the diversity of products that farmers generated – individual preference dictated the extent to which farmers marketed either eggs (for consumption or for breeding) or chicks of varying ages. Adding old birds and manure revealed 12 different products produced and marketed (see Table 2). The average annual gross margin was recorded as USh 1,679,814 for a 40-bird enterprise, or US$1,050. As no land has been taken out of production to accommodate the enterprise and previous farmer involvement in poultry production amounted to a handful of birds kept for occasional household consumption, this represents a net addition to household income. These results can be considered very positive and contrasting when compared with the average additional incomes of US$48 reported in a 12-year programme in Bangladesh by Riise et al. (2005). Fixed costs include the cost of constructing the

chicken house (which includes bricks, wire mesh and roofing materials), feeders and drinkers, lanterns and pots for brooding chicks and various tools for cleaning. Costs for 40 birds average USh 342,590 (or US$214), which, given the average start-up period of four and a half months reported by farmers, means that it takes nearly seven months of operation to recover fixed costs. Calculating a costbenefit analysis for an individual enterprise over a 10-year period revealed a net present value of USh 7,279,984 or US$4,549.99. The project net present value for 400 farmers represents US$16 generated for every US$1 received through the MATF grant. The poultry project has generated income, and eggs

and chicken as food in the target sub-counties. It has enabled farmers to purchase household property, pay the school fees of their children, meet their basic needs, build houses, establish solar power and buy a few cows, among others. The main beneficiaries were women (60 per cent), in recognition of the significant role they play in food production enterprises. In the targeted communities, 80 per cent of farmers can afford to take their children to secondary schools and bought more land for more incomegenerating projects. Ninety-five per cent of the farmers can sell up to 3,000 birds and over 15,000 eggs every year. The chicken programmed hatching project has increased farmers’ incomes from less than USh 40,000 (US$25) to USh 140,000 (US$87) a month (using the exchange rate of 2007). Food

security and quality have also improved in that farmers can now eat eggs four times a week and chicken twice a week. About 7 per cent of the eggs and meat produced is consumed by the households themselves. Although some child-headed households were

struggling to keep up with the project innovations, they were mentored and helped with some tasks by other group members. Group members worked in shifts to help them. As a result, incomes in childheaded households were similar to incomes of other members. Another indirect effect of the project was that it brought about some cultural changes. Due to traditional beliefs, many women did not eat eggs. This belief changed, and after the project almost all the women ate chicken and eggs. Training and knowledge was not only related to

poultry technologies, but also related to gender awareness, leadership skills and management issues. As a result, 85 per cent of trained farmers are familiar with management of savings, credit and bookkeeping. Forty-six groups have been registered and have opened bank accounts with the CIDI microfinance Kyotera branch. A total of 180 farmers from the groups registered with CIDI micro-finance have benefited from the loan fund implemented by CIDI micro-finance with interest charged and many of them have accumulated savings. Through their own savings, farmers started up their own incomegenerating enterprises on their farms, such as retail shops, hair salons and butchers within the communities, hence improving their general welfare. The second most important non-financial benefit

was the mutual support that farmers were receiving as a result of being part of a group. About 16 per cent of farmers mentioned increased status associated with the new poultry enterprises as a substantial benefit. One of the innovations related to brooding has been

the production and use of briquettes made out of a waste product from charcoal traders: charcoal dust. The charcoal dust is mixed with wet clay and the briquettes are cured in the sun. It is an environmentally friendly way that provides warmth for brooding and saves money. By improving poultry keeping, the project created

and promoted the integration and diversification of farm production for increased household food production and incomes. Poultry farming has enabled farmers to make use of chicken manure to improve the soil fertility of their farms, and as such will continue improving the environment through nutrient

recycling. Crop harvest has also increased and improved in quality and size. Impacts on social capital have been considerable:

participating communities transformed from being victims of poverty and HIV/AIDS to successful poultry farmers, experts who train others, shop keepers and group leaders. Group leaders have become liaison persons with government development programmes and other services, bringing more development to the community. The project has elevated the status of women and orphans, as many of them have become trainers and leaders.