Brooding to prosperity: Master of Agrienterprise Development students at Egerton University reap big from poultry
By Jane Nyambura and Kenneth Chepkwony
Limited skills, innovativeness and entrepreneurial capacity among graduates is a challenge faced by many higher education institutions in Africa. Egerton University is taking bold and innovative steps in higher agricultural training and education to tackle this challenge and has developed a Master of Science in Agrienterprise Development. The programme was launched in January 2015, marking a new dawn that challenged the traditional models of teaching, research and outreach at the university.
We are pioneer students of this innovative programme whose training approach stretches students beyond their limits to bring out the best in them. The curriculum is designed to encourage pro-activeness, strategic decision making, risk taking, balance, resilience, and innovative engagement at various levels and stages.
As part of the programme requirements to set up an entrepreneurial enterprise, we established a chicken brooding facility for day old chicks. From an initial stock of 1,000 chicks, the enterprise has grown and to-date we have sold up to 3,000 mature broiler chicken to the university, hotels and butcheries in surrounding towns.
The returns on this business engagement are good. We have earned USD$ 3,500 so far and helped to change the livelihood and household fortunes of one of our employees.
In addition to supporting the start-up of our entrepreneurial project, the program has helped us acquire new skills in entrepreneurship, business planning and financial literacy; sharpened our inter-personal, communication and management skills; provided exposure; and instilled in us resilience in sales and marketing. It has also helped us network with private companies such as Unga, Kenchick, Egerton Hotels and Butcheries, Golden Chick, as well as farmers in Nakuru. These additional benefits have come earlier than we anticipated. Had we not enrolled into this programme, we would most likely have had to struggle on our own to acquire these skills and never developed the confidence to venture into enterprise development.
We are therefore most grateful to RUFORUM and European Union, through the EDULINK II Programme, for supporting development of this master’s program the financial support extended to us as students. We are also indebted to our supervisor, Prof. Patience Mshenga, and Egerton University for their support and dedication.