News and knowhow for farmers

University graduate milks Sh30,000 monthly from goats

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A University of Nairobi graduate is milking at least Sh30,000 monthly from dairy goat farming after shunning cattle, which are the most preferred investment option for many.

Mwendia Gitonga says he saw goat farming as a less competitive option, but more profitable.

The farmer started off with only our dairy goats in 2010, but his stock as increased to 24, and still growing.

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Machine milking of a goat. Courtesy

“Farming has been close to my heart since I was young. I did not want to dive into a flooded market of cattle rearing. That is how I settled on goats, because of its popularity for higher nutrition than cattle,” he says.

The Animal Production graduate gets at least 25 litres of milk from 13 goats, which he sales at Sh65 per litre. This amounts to Sh48,750.

“Every day I keep getting new customers. I have never satisfied the demand. I give priority to regular customers. I am looking into expanding this enterprise. It is not economically sane to ‘send away money’ when we are working hard to earn it,” he said.

Browsers

He says running this agribusiness does not tax him much. Between Sh18,000 and Sh20,000 from the sale of milks is sufficient in running the business per month, unless there is an emergency.

Besides, dairy meals, Gitonga feed the goats on green matter, which enrich the nutrient content in the milk.

Given that goats are natural browsers, the greens reduce the dairy meal to about 70 kg per week.

The feed costs this Nyandarua County-based farmer between Sh1,800 and Sh2,100, depending on the supplier and type.

At the same time, he sells billy goats whenever they are born, which occasionally earns him more cash.

A few benefits

Fat chains in goat milk are said to be smaller than in cows. This makes it a better option for children whose digestive system has not reached complexity.

A study the Prairie View A&M University says this milk boost the body’s ability to metabolise iron, copper and other nutrients more-so in individuals with digestion and absorption challenges.

People who develop mucousal allergies after consuming cow’s milk are likely to suffer from the same with after consuming the product from goats. Goat milk does not cause irritation of the gut, which triggers secretion of mucous.

According to the Economic Survey 2018 the number of cattle and calves slaughtered in abattoirs rose by 5.3 per cent from 2,460.2 thousand in 2016 to 2,590.0 thousand in 2017. During the same period, the total number of goats and sheep slaughtered increased by 12.0 per cent to stand at 9,206.7 thousand.

The quantity of milk delivered to dairy processors recorded a significant drop of 17.4 per cent from 648.2m litres in 2016 to 535.7m litres in 2017.

Similarly, the quantity of processed milk and cream from processing plants decreased by 8.5 per cent and that of butter and ghee declined by 22.0 per cent. Production of cheese however, increased from 311.2 tonnes in 2016 to 338.3 tonnes in 2017.

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