A decision to attend the Livestock breeders show and sale in 2013 has been the spark that has transformed Gilbert Henry Obonyo’s farming fortunes and changed his long held wrong perceptions about dairy farming.
Today he owns a cow that gives him upto 10 litres a day and earning him over Sh20,000 a month.
The dairy farmer from Kisumu always believed that dairy animals could not survive in the hot weather and that diseases would easily wipe away the animals.
But the mentality was reversed when he joined more than 1,600 farmers from 22 counties who attended the Brookside Livestock Breeders Show and sale. At the show, Obonyo learned that certain breeds of cows could, in fact, be well adapted for his particular farm environment.
With his newly acquired knowledge, Obonyo did the math and decided it made economic sense to purchase a dairy cow, given the high potential milk yields. He sold one of his zebu bulls for Sh30,000 and took out part of his savings to buy a dairy cow at Sh50,000.
Currently his cow gives him 5 liters of milk per day, some of which he sells to his neighbors at Sh50 per liter and the rest is consumed at home. He is confident that with high-quality feeds that are affordable but of good quality, milk production will increase significantly following the next calving. Obonyo has also planted Napier grass on half acre of his land, which will assist him beat the prohibitive cost of feed and boost milk production.
Obonyo has constructed a zero grazing unit and feeds his cow on Napier grass and mineral supplements in addition to ensuring it is regularly vaccinated. He is also in the process of buying a feed cutter to save on time and labor.
Enthusiastic farmer that he is, Obonyo He is mobilizing his neighbors to adopt dairy farming and overcome the misconception that areas of Kisumu are not fit for dairy farming.
Starting dairy farming for Obonyo was a great decision that will keep him happy and provide him with money in his retirement. "I plan to sell off my other five zebu cows and use the money to buy more dairy cows," he said.