Setting up a Feeding Program for the students

Status: Just started

As the learning centre works with children from poor families the centre has found a feeding program necessary to draw attention of these children to school.Many of these children have no food in their homes making it hard for them to carry on with learning on empty stomachs.This has discouraged some of them to go on to fend food rather than keeping at school.

Although a feeding program is one of the expensive exercise to manage but we can think of the best way to sustain it.The local representative has found it good if a maize grinding mill can be purchased by neighbours and it can serve the purpose of grinding maize locally for the school and serving the area residents who will come to grind their maize on payment.Since maize flour is the staple food in Kenya this can be an income generating activity which can sustain the feeding program and save neighbours from such a recurring exercise.This can demand Kshs 200,000 and it can serve the feeding program very well

The pictures are wonderful Richard! - and I am so happy to see that they have a good size pen to be in with the other animals. Will they be safe at night from wild animals and thieves? How do you protect them? And were you able to buy salt lick for them? Keep me posted with your good work!
Ginger :)


Hi Jeremy,


Hi Richard,

Great Work!

Jeremy Ecle


Hi Maria,
Great to hear from you after along time.We could not find space in Nairobi for this project, rather we agreed with Ginger that I can carry it out from my farm in the rural area and that is what I have done.As you can see from the photos that is an open market where I bought the three adult goats and they can conceive any time.Some one is taking care of them.It will not take long hopefully in six or seven mouths time we shall have got kids.I have allocated them to three children such that once they give birth to babies, then they are going to cater for their school fees and learning materials but first I want to see how they are going to do.We can do much more with the project and since this is farming areas of mount Elgon,we can involve other farming activities.I am hoping it is going to be a thriving project.
Thanks to Ginger,


Hi Richard,

Great to see this progress (thank you, Ginger!). Sorry, I have been a bit away from the discussion (was on leave), but thanks a lot for these pictures. Where are the goats living now? Is there enough space in Mathare for them to be outside (looks like there is from the pictures). Are the kids taking part in their care-taking? - I think they can learn a lot both on the technical site of taking care for an animal and on the responsability site.

best wishes,


Hi all,
The goat project for Patmos children has commenced with three adult goats.Great thanks to Ginger who has initiated this project.I will keep you updated on how this project is going on.
Best wishes,

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Hi Mary and Shaun,
All that Shaun has said is what I look forward for in case we can secure funds for the maize project.I intend to put 1 acre harvest into feeding the children as the remaining maize will be put in the school project.This will be first to see that I plan for the next farming with the profits from the previous harvest.I hope the second planting is likely to be 4 acres and as we do it on and on,It will turn to be a task we may not give up and with time we may buy our own land and carry out many farming activities on the piece of land we shall have bought.As I said, this are highland regions of Kenya were most farming investments are carried out.It can work well for us,
Thanks to the views you are coming up with.


Hi Mary,

Yes the intention is to use a proportion of the maize for the school feeding programe.
Richard will have to give some indication of how much of the crop can be set aside for this.
I presume the amount will be limited by how long the maize can be stored and the cost of storage?

And yes the ideal set up is to make the project self -sustaining. Richard has indicated that 3 acres may be needed for this:

Working backward with the figures it means that:

3 acres would produce a profit of (3x 45,200) = Ksh 135,600 ( US$1,674 )

Of this (3x 23,800) = Ksh 71,400 (US$ 881) would be required for the next years crop.

This leaves Ksh 135,600 - 71,400 = 64,200 (US$ 792) net profit.

If one acre of maize was needed for the school feeding program, then this profit would be reduced by a further Ksh 45,200 (US$558).

The final net profit would be Ksh 19,000 ( US $235 ).

If this were achievable then all the aims you mention are met ie

1. The school feeding programme can continue.
2. The project is self-sustaining.
3. A net profit of Ksh (US$ 235) can be put towards the school project.

I shall contact Ken as his expert opinion will be much appreciated.

Cheers Shaun


Sounds promising!

Maybe I have slightly lost track of the discussion - do profit figures take into account the fact that you will want to use some of the maize to feed kids at the school, instead of selling it all? Of the profit made, will some be used to plant more maize next year so that this becomes self-sustaining?

At some point in the future, it may be worth contacting Ken Hargesheimer who can teach about no-till organic farming and bucket drip irrigation. Ken is
He is happy to teach anyone who is willing to learn.

Ginger, think you know of other villages that have tried these methods, do you know how successful they have been?



Hi everyone,

Looking at the final figures:


Land rent 5,000

Seed purhase 2,000
Fertilizer purchase 4,000
Top dressing purchase 3,500

Labour fees
Ploughing 3,000
Planting 800
Weeding 1,000
Cutting and plucking 1,500
Winnowing 2,000

Carriage charges 1,000

Storage nil (will use cousin's storage)
Caretaker fees nil (will use cousin's caretaker)


Sale of 30 bags maize 69,000
(2,300Ksh per 90Kg bag)

The net profit for 1 acre would be Ksh 45,200.(US$558)

For an outlay of Ksh 23,800 ($294) this represents a return of 89% on initial investment.

While these figures look very good they are only achievable because of the allowances Richard is getting from his cousin in terms of storage and caretaker fees. I estimate these savings to be storage Ksh 6,000 and caretaker Ksh 5,000 (Total Ksh 11,000). Without these savings the profit would be reduced by a quarter to Ksh 34,200.

I also note that one set of figures gives a much higher cost for fertilizer (Ksh 6,000) and top dressing (Ksh3,000) which would reduce profit further by Ksh5,000 to Ksh 29,200 per acre.

This is still over double the initial outlay.

I understand the main risk to this type of business is inadequate rain during the growing season. Kenya depends on maize as a staple food grown in this highland region but the crop can fail on rare occassions.

Based on these figures I consider this could be a good opportunity to supply much needed maize for the school feeding programme and start to generate a sustainable income for the school project. It would also be a chance to start handling a maize crop with a view to eventually purchasing a mill in future.

I hope other neighbours will discuss this project.

Cheers Shaun


Hi Ginger,
I think your initiative with the goats deserves to work in this situation. I know you have experience of it working successfully in the past and I wish the project every success. Perhaps we should open up a new project room on goat management so that neighbours who can add practical advice on the care and welfare of the goats can contribute. There are not just financial benefits from this but also educational lessons for everyone to benefit from.
Cheer Shaun


Hi all,
This is all we arrived at with my cousin on maize growing
- Land per acre is Kshs 5000.High demand has made renting charges to shoot up from this year.
- ploughing Kshs 3000
- D.A.P Fertilizer Kshs 4000
- Planting labour Kshs 800
- Weeding labour Kshs 1000
- Eurea and C.N for top dressing Kshs 3500
- Cutting charges Kshs 800
- plucking from the maize stock Kshs 700
- Carriage charges Kshs 1000
-Winnowing charges Kshs 2000
- Seeds Kshs 2000
Total Kshs 24800

This is the cost of 1 acre which I was advised that if every thing can be done at the earliest time and in the right quantity, the harvest cannot go bellow 30 bags of 90 kilograms.The right time for selling this maize off to fetch for a better profit is not immediately after harvesting but storing it until February of the following year when the price will have gone up likely to 2300 or 2400 per 90Kg bag.With this kind of price we can make almost 50% profit from the sale of 1 acre.As I have said earlier, we need to prepare money for land in October or early November while the rest of the work will start in February.
You can evaluate on this and see the way forward.
Wishing the best,


Hi Ginger and every one again,
I managed to travel to the rural area for the goat purchase as you had instructed me. I bought three goats from an open market where goats and cattle are brought for sale.With the money i received from Ginger, this is the breakdown of how I spent:
-3goats all I spent Kshs 8,000
-Ropes for tying them Kshs 500
-Salt used as a feed Kshs 1500
-My transport to and fro Kshs 2000
-Care taker Kshs 3000
-Total Kshs 15,000
All this items where bought from the same open market where all transactions are carried out in an informal way and no receipts are issued so i could not get any receipt however the photos can show that the goats have been bought and the project is now in progress.The care taker is some one I know and he has offered to help us not at any agreed payment but just for any assistance of any form that we can give him at any time.We shall continue working with him as the project progress.I will be back with the maize report shortly.
Much thanks to Ginger for setting this work in motion.I have an idea of attaching the goats to 3 children as their school fees and other learning requirements.Does it work well ginger?
Thanks a lot.


Hi Shaun and every one
Great to hear from you shaun.Over the last four days I was out of Nairobi to the rural to purchase the goats.I managed to buy three goats as instructed by Ginger.On my way I managed to pass by cousin's home and we discussed the help I can get from him.He promised me that I should pay for fuel and labour.The land has also to be hired and the rest of the farm inputs we have to purchase them ourselves.We can use his storage facilities but we have to buy storage sacks.To correct Shaun, the last figure I reached at was Kshs 31,500 not 39,500.Prices also tend to fluctuate with demand and supply of maize in the market.
Looking at the offer from my cousin's side then we can slash the figure.The great advantage we shall get is that of the care taker because we shall make use of his care takers.This is likely to reduce the cost by Kshs 6000 thereby having Kshs 24,000 or so.To make this clear, what I should mean is acres not hectares, so I believe 2 acres for a start can be managable.A very argent need is that of hiring land before December, then followed by first and second ploughing which are likely to come in mid February.Let me come with the exact cost shortly.
We can leave the rest but we can inter crop maize with maize as that is common with many farmers although it involves a high cost on weeding.
That is all for now,


Hi everyone,
Some good discussion on maize growing. Maria with suggestion for Cooperative and Ginger looking at various options. Ginger's initiative with the goats sounds interesting and deserves every success; Richard please keep us updated with the progress of this venture.

I have been looking at the figures Richard supplied and cannot see where Ginger's converter came up with US$ 2,500! I make the costs of Ksh 39,500 to be US $488 (exchange rate of $1=81Ksh). Ginger correct me if I am wrong...

Looking back to the mill project if last years prices (millers buying) were 2,650 Ksh for 90Kgs sack maize then;
If one hectare produces 20 sacks the profit will be 53,000 less 39,500 = Ksh 13,500 ($167).
If one hectare produces 30 sacks the profit will be 79,500 less 39,500 = Ksh 40,000 ($494)
So the potential is for a return of between 34% to 100% on initial outlay. This looks good on paper but from what you say Richard, I feel it will need the help of your cousin. Two hectares (nearly five acres for us non- metric oldies !) is quite a large area of land to work on. Making the best use of it with melons, beans and sunflower will be further labour intensive; you will have no time for teaching!
Having said that, It must be worth a try if you think you can organise it.
I look forward to your assessment.
Cheers Shaun