By Joseph Scott, Communications Officer- DCA Malawi
When Hannock Shirita (above picture), 60, from Mzimba heard that he was going to be one of the beneficiaries to receive chickens on a pass on project, he did not anticipate that they would bring such a big change in his life.
Dan Church Aid (DCA), with funding from LACTOSAN-SANOVO Ingredients Group, recently launched a chicken project in his area, targeting the poorest families so that they can have somewhere to fall on during hard times.
The project, which is being implemented by DCA local partner, Christian Services Committee (CSC), identified Shirita as one of its beneficiaries and he received 10 disease resistant chickens commonly known as Black Australorps, which are good egg-layers as well as a meat birds and 5 local chicken.
“I was ill for some time and was failing to get money for transport to travel to the hospital,” says Shirita. “And when I received the chickens, I knew that these would help me with some income if I took care of them well,” he says.
Eggs for better nutrition and income
Today, Shirita is enjoying the fruits of his hard work and diligence for looking after his chickens well. From the flock of 15 chickens he received, he has only lost one bird.
“I can now eat eggs on a regular basis and also selling some to buy some basic necessities for my family and transport money for my monthly check up at the district hospital,” he says.
He adds, “I feel the chickens can produce more eggs but the cockerel I have is not doing its job. I have been in touch with our extension people from CSC and they promised to help me with a better cockerel.”
Hope for a better future
Despite having a healthy flock, Shirita says he is not ready to start eating the chickens. He says he is satisfied with the proceeds from the egg sales.
“They are a rare breed of chickens as they cannot catch disease easily especially if one is administering dosages as advised by our extension people,” says Shirita. “So I can’t just slaughter them anyhow. They are priceless.”
Looking to the future, Shirita says he wants his flock to grow big so that he graduates into a small holder egg producer.
“We have so much demand for eggs in this area. My dream is to have enough chickens to supply eggs to the surrounding villages. All I need for now is a healthy cockerel,” he says.
• 1 $ = 400 MalawiKwacha
• Price of 1 egg- MK70
• Price of 1 chicken- MK3,000
• Drug revolving fund monthly contribution by each farmer-MK50
• Well looked after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year
• 100 farmers have benefitted from the LACTOSAN-SANOVO funded Chicken project