When Ms Beatrice Kimani retired from the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (KPTC) in 2000, she hoped to set up a poultry agri-business venture.
She used part of her Sh1 million golden handshake send-off package to set up the business in a piece of land she had bought in Njoro.
In the initial years, she had a booming business selling eggs to hotels in Njoro, Molo and Nakuru towns.
"I made good profits and I extended my venture to dairy farming, I bought two cows which have since increased to four," said Ms Kimani.
However, today she cannot sustain the venture, thanks to the high cost of animal feeds, which she says she cannot afford.
“The cost of chicken feed has doubled. A 70kg bag of chick mash which I was buying at Sh2,500 is now going at Sh3,300. If you add transport charges a bag of chick feed is coming to nearly Sh4,500," she said.
She has been forced to scale down her venture from 400 birds to less than 100 birds.
She says apart from the increase in prices, the quality of the feeds has also deteriorated, causing her to incur more losses.
“I used to collect about 50 trays of eggs in a week but the birds are no longer laying eggs. I suspect the chicken feed has been adulterated,” she lamented.
She says the cost of maintaining chicken is becoming so high, the price of drugs has also increased by 50 per cent.
“I cannot afford to call a veterinary officer to treat my chicken as was the case a few years ago. I cannot afford to pay his professional fees,” she added.
She is not alone. Many urban farmers are also suffering due to high prices of animal feeds.
Mr Anthony Kamau, a poultry farmer in London Estate in Nakuru West, has reduced the number of chickens on his farm.
“I thought zero-grazing was the best option for me but the prices of chicken feeds have more than doubled. I had more than 200 layers but I have sold nearly half as I cannot manage to feed them with the current situation," said Kamau.
He said the stagnation in prices of eggs over the years has forced him to reduce the number of chickens he is keeping.
"The price of an egg is between Sh10 and Sh15 and not so many people are coming to buy from me," he said.