Powerhive’s Kuku Poa to receive PREO funding to solarise poultry production and bring new opportunities for smallholder farmers in Kenya

Powerhive East Africa’s Kuku Poa project has been granted €114 000, by PREO to integrate solar energy in small-scale poultry production and to support local smallholder farmers in Kenya to establish commercial partnerships with large-scale buyers of poultry supplies.

The poultry industry in Kenya is dominated by large-scale production companies that are well equipped to meet the country’s market needs. Poultry production remains a subsistence activity for most small-scale farmers. To attract commercial poultry off-takers to purchase their products, small-scale poultry farmers require a reliable energy source to improve the quality of their product to meet the high market quality standards. Powerhive has seen this gap as an opportunity to create viable offtakes from small-scale, regulated producers powered by renewable energy.

The Kenyan-based company has been a leading provider of energy access solutions since 2015. It currently operates 23 solar-powered mini-grids in Kenya serving over 5,500 households and providing electricity for an estimated 27,000 people. Powerhive started their Kuku Poa poultry project (which translates to ‘Good Chicken’) in 2017 to increase clean power consumption and improve their mini-grids economics, while also increasing income opportunities for local farmers.

Large-scale purchasers of poultry are increasingly seeking alternative supply chain options outside of the industrial poultry production companies. Commercial off-takers of poultry supplies such as Java House are exploring ways to purchase from rural farmers while still ensuring the quality of the chickens purchased, which requires reliable energy at every link of the value chain including breeding, processing, transport etc. Powerhive is in partnership discussions with Java House, the partnership will serve as a critical link to the ‘farm-to-fork’ value chain that Powerhive is seeking to establish.

Powerhive is already working with local farmers on the construction of brooder houses. It has established partnerships with companies like Sigma Feeds and Insinya to ensure farmers can secure high quality inputs such as chicks and feed, and to connect farmers to financial service providers that can provide them with credit to purchase the inputs. The company is also facilitating training on chicken brooders, monitoring poultry processing, and guaranteeing the sale of mature chickens.

The funding from PREO, will enable Powerhive’s Kuku Poa project to deploy renewable energy solutions to modernise the entire small-scale poultry production process. It will also create partnerships with financial and input suppliers, and with commercial buyers to integrate small-scale farmers into the mainstream poultry market.

Kuku Poa/Powerhive is the third Partnership Services project to receive PREO funding. The PREO funding is co-funded by the IKEA Foundation and UK aid via the Transforming Energy Access platform. The Partnership Services initiative aims to build, fund and support three corporate organisations for the purpose of developing mutually beneficial partnerships in their sub-Saharan African value chains. Their productive use of energy will bring with it social and economic benefits such as improved earnings potential, job creation, empowerment of women rural workers, localisation of value-chains as well as more profitable and reliable supply chains for these corporate actors. PREO has allocated a total of €580,000 for funding Partnership Services projects.

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