News and knowhow for farmers

Farmers using groups to access exotic KALRO goats, multiplying output

Through groups and cooperatives, dairy goat farmers can cheaply acquire KALRO high-yielding exotic dairy goat breeds. 

These farmers pull their resources and purchase the research institute’s pedigree Togen or Alpine bucks are bred with local Kenya Dual Purpose Goats (KDPG) over five to six years to attain pure breeds with a production of three to four liters daily. This is six to eight times the amount of milk indigenous goats produce.

Goat milk fetches between Sh200 to Sh100 a liter– double the price gotten for cow milk.

The dairy goat sub-sector contributes 15.2 per cent to the total livestock sector and 4.8 per cent to overall household incomes in Kenya. However, annual goat milk production sits at just 6.3 million kilograms (0.02 per cent of yearly national milk output). This shows the unbridged gap in national milk demand and productivity as well as the sector’s profitability.

“A 15-month pedigree Togenburg or Alpine buck purchased from KALRO costs Sh15,000. To ‘turn’ a local goat into a pure breed or pedigree one, a farmer will need to breed five to six successive generations,” explained Erastus Wanjau, a supervisor at KALRO Naivasha– the country’s only dairy goat breeding institute.  

All bucks used in breeding should be of different lineages to avoid inbreeding. Purchasing five to six bucks is out of the reach of most farmers. Farmer groups offer a solution to this as farmers can pull their resources together and buy bucks that can be shared by the different members. 

“The Dairy Goat Association of Kenya (DGAK) is coordinating this cheaper mode of acquiring the genetics of exotic goat breeds with farmer groups in Nyeri. Seven to ten individual farmers own one buck that is used amongst them and then shared with another group of farmers. Each farmer is encouraged to keep meticulous breeding records to avoid any doe being served by a buck of its immediate bloodline,” illuminated Charles Hinga, the coordinator of the organisation’s breeding program.

He adds that most farmers engaged in the program have moved from subsistence dairy goat farming to full-time commercial dairy goat keeping.

KALRO Naivasha sells pedigree bucks annually between October and December.

Read more:

Little upkeep, lucrative returns: Why galla goats are a perfect side venture

Vet soars in goat milk sales by cracking marketing and logistics

Former counselor milks cool cash from dairy goat farming

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