There are two components to the Food For the Poor (FFP) chicken project: broilers reared for meat and layers for eggs. Both of these are intended to provide a tidy nest egg for the farmer.
The broilers come with a facility provision. Norvel Bedward explained: "We construct 200 square feet broiler units, which can house 200 chicks to maturity comfortably. For this we provide the feed, the medication, the chicks - everything. All we ask is in constructing the building that the person benefitting assist us."
"We give them all the resources. Where possible, we try to identify markets when they are selling. Training is a must."
Approximately 30 broiler projects have been started so far since the start of this year.
New project on the way
Dwayne Bent explained that a layer project would be started in September. In this case, the farmers will be asked to provide the unit and they will be provided with 50 layers, which are 18 months old and ready to produce eggs. In addition, the recipients will be given 12 bags of feed.
It is projected that 10,000 layers will be distributed in the first instance, the existing number doubled each year by subsequent distributions.
Rounding out Food For the Poor's agriculture programme is bee-keeping. A total of $100,000 is invested in each project, which consists of bees, a veil, a smoker, a hive tool and 50 frames. "Since the start of the year, we have assisted 24 persons, and there are plans to do about another 48 by year end," Bent said. Bedward pointed out that "people are interested and continually call us. Persons realise it is an industry that has a lot of potential. Also, it is something that does not require a lot of attention (on a day-to-day basis)".
There is some element of inter-organisation cooperation, as some persons are trained through RADA and 4-H. "Some have no knowledge and we train them and monitor them," Bedward said.
They point out that FFP gets bees only from reputable bee farmers and has not had disease issues that have affected a number of beekeepers.