Zechariah Okwoyo’s feeds store in Homa Bay Town is known by farmers far and wide.
The 41-year-old father of three, who is a trained medical lab technologist, started the agribusiness 12 years ago with selling eggs, but changed course after noticing a gap.
‘‘When I started selling eggs, we were few in the market, but it got saturated and prices plummeted. I saw a gap in this field as farmers were travelling far in search for animal feeds.’’
In his shop known as Homa Bay Farmers Store, he stocks all the chicken mashes, Kienyeji feeds and dairy meals.
Okwoyo sells over 100 bags of feeds every month, with each going for an average of Sh2,000, ending up with good profit.
He orders for the feeds from supplies in Nakuru County.
DELIVERED TO HIS SHOP
“Most of my customers make orders before they purchase feeds making me avoid losses arising from lack of sale because animal feeds are perishable,” says Okwoyo, who travels to Nakuru for the feeds or sometimes they are delivered to his shop.
Eggs, which he also sells in his store that he rents for Sh4,000 a month, are another income earner for his business. He sells up to 250 trays a fortnight with each going at Sh300.
‘‘I purchase one tray at Sh270 from Nakuru and use seven shillings to transport to the store.’’
According to Okwoyo, selling feeds requires utmost care and hygiene as this will ensure reduction of losses that may be incurred as a result of loss of quality. ‘‘You have to ensure you keep pests at bay and feeds are in a dry place to avoid aflatoxin contamination. Improper handling, physical and chemical changes affect quality of feeds.’’
Before one begins the business, one has to get a health clearance certificate from the public health department and a business permit from the county government.
MAKING OWN FEEDS
‘‘Public health officials make regular visits to the feeds store to ensure that what is sold is both safe to human and animals,’’ he says. Okwoyo plans to start making his own feeds to reduce transportation costs.
“My knowledge as a lab technologist has helped me understand the job, but I have also got training in preparing feeds from a local farming cooperative in Homa Bay County,” says Okwoyo, who failed to get a job in his field and switched to business, starting with a capital of Sh35,000 and later pumped in Sh80,000 when he was transiting to feeds.
Prof Paul Kimurto, an agricultural expert at Egerton University, says intense insect activity results in mould growth, which poses serious health risks to animals as this may result to cancerous infections if someone consumes meat from the affected livestock.
‘‘Insects feed on most feed ingredients and contaminate them with micro-organisms and foul odour with cockroaches bringing forth pathogenic bacterial contamination,’’ he noted.