A second career that started with chicks

Solar incubation helps more eggs reach urban consumers

Eggs can make a valuable contribution to healthy city diets. Solar incubators help urban businesses meet the demand. A woman-led Farmers’ Hub in Kenya shows the way forward.

Salome Naliaka, owner of Sally Ray Farmer’s hub showing her incubator provided by the NICE Project Bungoma County

During her business career, Salome Naliaka lived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. After retirement, she moved back to Bungoma County to run the Sally Ray Farmers’ Hub (FH). With support from the NICE project, Sally Ray Farmers’ Hub is providing eggs to residents of Bungoma and Busia and Salome Naliaka is even looking to expand her poultry business. Her drive and experience thus make Salome an ideal entrepreneur to benefit from NICE, the project that aims to connect women and young people with the demand and supply sides of food systems.

As the owner of a FH, Salome Naliaka not only produces eggs, she also mentors and supports 200 nearby smallholders. Through workshops and training, she helps them promote the nutritional benefits of eggs and poultry and find good buyers.

“Farming is part and parcel of who I am.”

Salome Naliaka, owner of Sally Ray Farmers’ Hub (FH)

In line with the project’s support for ‘green energy’, Salome Naliaka received an egg incubator powered by six solar panels. NICE also provided a start-up flock of 50 chicks. These birds have now reached maturity and started laying. Naliaka can incubate 1060 eggs at a time. Customers buy them via several routes, including WhatsApp.

Saome Naliaka’s solar panels provided by the NICE Project

Running a poultry and egg farm this way is environmentally friendly, but has its challenges. The incubator had a faulty fan and a coil that needed replacing. Despite Kenya’s reputation for sunniness, there are grey days when the panels do not produce enough electricity. The FH must then use expensive alternatives to maintain the right temperature and humidity in the incubator.  

Despite these technical drawbacks, Salome Naliaka remains confident. She appreciates the continuing support of the NICE project and with a smile, she envisages a future where the income from poultry empowers the farmers connected with her Hub to be “the best in Bungoma County.”

The rewards outweigh the challenges

Salome Naliaka about the technical drawbacks and challenges Sally Ray Farmers’ Hub faces
Salome Naliaka’s layers provided by the NICE Project

* The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation’s (SDC) Nutrition in City Ecosystems (NICE) project connects the demand- and supply-side of food systems, engages women and youth – including through social business models – and builds local governance capacity in Kenya, Rwanda, and Bangladesh. In Kenya, this project is being undertaken in Bungoma and Busia counties. The consortium partners are Swiss TPH, ETH Zürich, Sight & Life and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.