A businessman in Kirinyaga County has converted his private school into a poultry farm as Covid-19 pandemic wrecks havoc in the education sector.
Joseph Maina, the proprietor of Brethered School in Wanguru town, Mwea Constituency, said resolved to do farming after schools were closed in March to curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking in one of the classrooms where he is rearing over 5,000 chicks, Joseph said he explored other income-generating activities after realizing schools won’t reopen any time soon.
He said that paid his teachers for three months after school closure, expenses that exhausted his resources since no new income was being generated.
“I was well endowed having over 400 pupils. Money was not a big issue but three months after Covid-19 pandemic was reported in the country, I found myself unable to pay my bills,” Joseph said.
Unable to continue paying his teachers, he asked them to venture into other activities to make ends meet.
“We are rearing chicken in our classrooms so that I can earn something for my family upkeep,” said Joseph.
He said that the school’s headteacher ventured into the farm produce business, a venture that has turned out profitable for her.
“I understand my headteacher had started selling bananas at the market and she has informed me she’s not ready to come back to school,” he said.
To raise capital for his poultry business, Maina and his wife Beatrice sold his car, a Toyota Prado.
The local bank, he said, refused to offer his a business loan to him because of the uncertainties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I had to plead with a local bank in Mwea where they convinced the manager to offer a moratorium on Sh2 million loan until I am able to stand on my own feet again,” he said.
He added: “I think you can see how COVID-19 has affected my business where I was depending on over 400 parents.”
Joseph said he doesn’t see himself venturing into the school business again since the government has issued stringent measures to be met before reopening.
“Where can I get money to build new classrooms? I can’t afford to meet all these measures,” he said.