From Raising Chickens to Growing Tomatoes

What? Really? Switching from raising broilers and laying hens to growing tomatoes? That is what the Kitengela Covenant Church in Kenya did with their greenhouse over the past year. Simon Kamau is the pastor of the church that started a chicken project in January 2009.

Simon explaing the project

The church received funding from Covenant World Relief (CWR) for this economic development project. With the funds, they built a large frame building which was covered with clear, heavy plastic. For more than one year they were successful in raising broilers and eggs for the local market. Then during 2010, Pastor Simon started to notice that the price of feed was going up and the price of broilers was going down. Their profits were disappearing.

After studying the trends, they made a bold move and switched to growing tomatoes. They did this with no outside funds, just receipts from the chickens and eggs. Before making the switch, Simon studied the market and what was required to raise tomatoes. He visited supermarkets and asked what variety of tomatoes they would buy. He made initial contracts with them to provide greenhouse tomatoes.

Greenhouse with Tomatoes

In preparation for the tomatoes, Simon then contacted the Kenya agricultural service who came and tested the soil for nutritional level as well as for any diseases.

Healthy Tomatoes on Vines

He followed their fertilizer and cultivation recommendations as the project moved forward. The result is the tomatoes you see- nice Roma variety tomatoes.

Receipts from the project go to helping the church provide for over 300 Congolese refugees. They are teaching children English so they can go to school, finding housing for new arrivals, arranging for reduced school fees, providing uniforms and books, finding apprenticeships and more.

CWR has granted additional funds and the current Children’s Service Project will raise more. Would Sunday School children in your church help to raise funds for this project?

Simon and Dave Husby, CWR Director

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