In 2015, a group of 27 women came together and formed Trans-Queens self-help group. Their mission was to visit each member’s homes on a rotational merry-g-round monthly basis. And, as they met, the group raised money that was given to the host member. At the beginning, each member contributed KSh 4000 which translated to KSh 108,000 and gave to the member they visited.
The group then decided that every member should start rearing poultry. And since the members didn’t have the skills and information how to start and rear poultry for business, they hired an expert to train them during the meetings. Along the way, men saw the progress women were making with poultry investment and requested to enjoin them. The women agreed and changed the name of the group from Trans-Queens to Trans-Queens and Kings. By 2018, the membership had grown to 370 drawn from 5 sub counties of the county. They registered a cooperative society in 2019 primarily to help market members’ products; eggs and life birds.
In 2019, they got another shot in the arm. Their cooperative was among the Producer Organizations identified by NARIGP for support. The group wrote a proposal seeking support to expand their poultry business. They were awarded KSh. 1.5 million inclusion grant. The grant was to facilitate the cooperative to reorganize their leadership and improve on governance as well draw more membership from the already funded NARIGP, CIGs/VMGs.
As a result of this intervention, the society has 1624 paid up members, and another 5980 members from 155 CIGs and 14 VMGs. They also have 6000 affiliated members that have not registered but transact business with the cooperative. Through their initiative, 5 other cooperatives have sprung up and registered in each of the 5 sub-counties in Trans Nzoia.
The cooperatives main mandate is marketing of produce, procuring inputs and offering services to their members. They link farmers and stakeholders to products and services, purchase Day Old Chicks (DOCs) for members, purchase feeds for members, CIGs and VMGs; and they aggregate birds and eggs for sale. The cooperative utilizes social media platforms to disseminate information to members.
The cooperative has hired two field officers who train members on effective control of pests and disease. They train the members on poultry management,that includes brooding, rearing, vaccination regimes, pests and disease control and feed formulation. They also work closely with officers from the ministry of livestock who monitor possible disease outbreaks.
The county’s Poor infrastructure, especially bad roads is one of the challenges members face when transporting eggs and birds for sale. Disease outbreaks has been an in issues but with regular training and advises from field extension officers, members now know how to identify and deal with particular disease. This in turn has minimized death of birds.
The cooperative has been of great benefit to the members. Right now, they get subsidized prices of poultry feeds; they access organized veterinary services and have first priority in identified market opportunities. In addition, they get opportunities to get elected as officials of the cooperative, receive dividends, and have benching marking opportunities with other members.
The cooperative has secured one and half acres of land for development where they intend to set up a slaughter house for chicken value addition. They also plan to have eateries to provide a wider market for their products.