How post election violence frustrations birthed dairy empire

A desperate cry by her son for milk which she couldn’t access at the wake of the 2008 Kenya’s post election violence has been the spark that saw Anne Mwangi delve into serious dairy farming now boasting 40 high grade cows, a dairy powerhouse and a career at Mt. Kenya University.

Being a worker at one of the most prestigious developmental organizations in the country, Anne had it all. Frequent travels and meeting high profiled personalities. But the events of the 2008 post election violence changed all that. When she couldn’t provide her son with the milk he was demanding because there was none in the house and shops were inaccessible due to the heated violence, with Nairobi having been the epicenter, she thought twice about her career.

Going back home in Murang’a County she bought a crossbred cow which would produce four to five litres a day. “Interestingly even with such low volumes, people in the village would queue to buy the milk. You would expect because milk comes from the village, a big chunk of the people would be producing it. I knew this was a cash cow,” Ann said.

And that marked her journey into dairy farming, a venture that has metamorphosed into 40 grade cows and the birth of Meyed Dairy Farm in Murang’a. Most of her dairy cows are bred from the farm. The farm specializes in sale of milk but has also ventured into producing yoghurt as a diversification plan. There are milk parlours at the farm where customers can enjoy the farm and sample some of the products.

Her clientele has grown from just the locals and now span to those in Nairobi where she delivers on order. With business growing and her penchant for quality, she has employed ten permanent staff and 18 casuals.

Her cows include those high yielding ones in milk production that produces not less than 30 litres  day, those that produces between 20 and 30 litres and the less yielding producing at least ten litres a day per cow.

She is also a trainer on effective dairy farming and receives interested farmers keen on learning about her venture from as far as Mumias.

“There is so much hidden treasure in this line of business. I wish people would open their eyes and see the world of opportunities awaiting them. The dairy industry is quite a force to reckon with. In the livestock sector it is one of the prime providers of income for our economy,” she said.

She has perfected the art of dairy farming, relying on milking machines for hygiene and to make work easier for her staff.

She also has at the moment 102 tonnes of sillage which can last for seven months. The silage is made in the farm and comes from sorghum and maize stalks. Besides making the silage her farm also makes its own animal feed which she has been trained to do by a feed specialist. “The conventional feeds have nine ingredients, ours has 11. I am very particular about what I feed my cows,” she added.