The pig business is a lucrative one considering that these animals do not need much attention. They can bring high returns in a short span and even people with small farms can keep them the way farmers in Kamuthi have done.

Figure this; a pig’s gestation period is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. In a year, a pig can give birth twice or thrice to between 10 to up to 15 piglets. One piglet can be sold for an average of Shillings 3,000. If in a year a pig gives birth thrice to 15 piglets, you have 45 piglets that if sold could earn the farmer some Shillings 135,000.

In a bad year, if it only gives birth to 10 piglets, twice a year, that makes 20 piglets that would earn a farmer approximately 60,000 shillings. If the farmer decides to sell the adult pigs, one costs averagely between Shillings 8,000-10,000. 15 adult pigs, one could earn Shillings 120,000. In a good year 45 pigs could earn one up to Shillings 360,000 or 450,000 if one was sold for Shillings 10,000 each.

Joyce Murugi who also doubles up as the treasurer for the group, thought it wise for her to start a charcoal business as a side hustle; which she would do in the mornings before going to pick coffee at Makiou Estate and in the evenings after work. After the success of the charcoal business she got tired of the charcoal dust and decided to take up another loan of Shillings 2,000 which she used to start a butchery. This was just one of the ideas she had and as it thrived, she decided to try rearing pigs which she realised has very high returns.

“Once my pigs have given birth, I am able to sell the piglets to the Farmers Choice Company for good returns. In a year, a pig can give birth twice or thrice. One pig can give birth to up to 10 or even 15 piglets. After about 7 months I can sell the piglets to the Farmers Choice for Shillings 3,000. A grown pig can get me between Shillings 8,000 to 10,000. Sometimes I get people who are also interested come to purchase them from me,” states Joyce.

My businesTom Wainaina the Motorcycle business manses have enabled me to educate my children and cater for other needs in my family,” stated Joyce.
Some of the challenges for keeping pigs is that in a month apart from the left-overs, one will need approximately Shillings 3,000 for one pig. Pigs also suffer from diseases like pneumonia and a farmer will note some signs like a pig that does not feed properly, has difficulty in standing up, and treatment could cost one, between Shillings 1,000 and 2,000.

“I am grateful for the information I got courtesy of OAIC and all the assistance they have accorded us to date. I am a happy woman,” stated Joyce.
The success stories in Kamuthi are incredible and even the men who joined the group are glad that they did. One Tom Wainaina; a member of the group states that after some training on small businesses, he was impacted with lifelong skills which enabled him think for ways of bettering his life rather than just idling and complaining about life. He ventured into the milk vending business where he would sell milk from house to house and now he owns a motorcycle.

“Kamuthi’s revolving fund enabled me to expand my business and I managed to buy an old motorcycle for business. After doing the business for a while, the profits I made enabled me buy a new one and the returns are satisfactory. Averagely I can go home with Shillings 200,” states Mr. Wainaina.
Grace MuthoGrace Muthoni currenlty lives in her own compound, in her own home, courtesy of Kiamuthi groupni, a member of the group recounts the days the chairlady, Rose would mobilise them to attend the fellowship and she is glad that she was able to join the group then. She had a young family of five children and life was tough on her with the many mouths to feed; she could only manage one a meal a day.

“When Kamuthi was just starting, I had a lot of problems in my yard. Working at the coffee plantation was distressing and the paltry income only made matters worse. I had an idea to start a part time business of selling bananas. I remember I was given a loan of Shillings 500 which I used to buy an entire bunch of bananas. I then got more funds when OAIC gave the group a grant of 112,000 and I took a Shillings 10,000 loan which enabled me to buy a full Pick up of banana’s which I supplied to various places and people. To date, I have been able to expand my banana business which has enabled me to educate my children with ease and I can afford to eat any time I get hungry,” narrated Grace.

The fact that she lived like a squatter with nothing to call her own is worth noting, as a decade later, the results of her success arising from hard work and determination, are open for everyone to see. Grace says that she was able to get even bigger loans which she has invested wisely as she has been able to buy land on which she has built a house of her own. She also owns several plots of land –small pieces of land – which she is still consulting on what to do with them.

Peter Firiri another gentleman in the group and amongst the earliest ones to join the group speaks of only tremendous achievements since he joined Kamuthi. Mr. Firiri says that he was given a loan of Shillings 2,000 which enabled him to start a charcoal business which did well and he managed to repay his loan after a short while. He then took a second loan of Shillings 10,000 and this time he was able to build some rental mabati houses – houses made from iron sheets -.
This he says was a positive move since he was able to repay his loan and last year he was able to get an even bigger loan of Shillings 50,000 which he used to start a Matatu business – Public Service Vehicle business –.

Mr. Peter Firiri- the Matatu operator who smiles all the way to the bank.He says that he is not about to stop as this is not the last business venture he is thinking of indulging in.

The chairlady of the group Rose Gathoni is in the mining business. Each of the members is involved in business which they have said is self- sufficient compared to picking coffee which was their preoccupation for a long time.
Agnes Mukami who is also the Secretary of the group has a little shop which sells porridge. Joyce Gathoni, the Vice Secretary of the group is involved in the business of selling cereals on a retail basis and wholesale too. Grace, a member of the group says that she has Kiosk – little shop – stocked with basic necessities and keeps pigs too. John Ng’ang’a sells second hand clothes while the chairlady is in the mining business.

The group members say that their vision is to see the standards of living amongst their neighbours uplifted the way theirs have been. “ We will be happy if we see our neighbours succeeding in their endeavours the way we have been able to succeed.”

The group has shares in some of the big companies at the Nairobi Securities Exchange like Safaricom and Kengen. Some of the challenges that the group has experienced was the experience of the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence as their businesses were affected and some were demolished. They also say that the upsurge of relatives from the areas largely affected by violence put pressure on them and their businesses. For some time they had stopped their monthly contributions. They would not like to see what happened in that period happen again.

 

Fiona Imbali, OAIC Communications.

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