Thursday, June 30, 2022

I make Sh. 80,000 monthly from my three dairy cows

Isaac Mwangi Ngure was not fortunate to join secondary school after class eight in 2003 due to lack of school fees. However, this did not dampen his dreams of succeeding in life.

As a young man eager to make some money for himself, he started picking tea for farmers in Mariira, Kigumo ward, in Murang’a county. Mwangi used to pick about 20kg of tea leaves per day, with a kilogramme earning him Sh3.

Since he was staying at home with his parents at the time, he was able to save most of the Sh60 he was getting per day. From his savings he bought a young bull for Sh3,000.

“I did not want to depend on my parents for long, so I worked hard picking tea and I was able to buy two more young bulls at Sh6,000 from the little I was able to save,” says Mwangi. After one year, he sold the three bulls for Sh37,000 and bought a dairy cow for Sh34,000 — this was the beginning of his successful dairy farming venture.

“I have since sold the cow. The four dairy cows I currently have are offsprings,” the 29-year-old says.

His cows christened Meni, Jane and Mary produce 32, 26 and 19 litres of milk a day respectively while the fourth one is about to calf. He sells 70 to 80 litres of milk daily to a hotel in Kangari Centre in Murang’a at Sh35 and in a month, he makes about Sh80,000.

I make Sh. 80,000 monthly from my three dairy cows

“I prefer selling to the hotel because their price is better than the co-operative which buys at between Sh30 and Sh33. I am also able to maintain a supplier-customer relationship,” he adds.

“I buy dairy meal, maize germ and fodder at Sh18,000 to supplement the nappier grass and sweet potato vines I have planted in my family’s land,” Mwangi says.

After paying his expenses and a farmhand who earns Sh6,000 a month, Mwangi banks about Sh56,000 to Sh 60,000. Mwangi also runs a boda boda business to supllement his income. He has already started building a three-bedroom stone house and he hopes to marry soon.

Things were not always easy when he first started in 2008; the project started picking up in 2012. He attributes his success to hard work and going for field visits in Kiambu and Nanyuki and working closely with the area veterinary officer who visits twice a month to check on his animals.

“I have not had many challenges since I work very closely with the vet whom I always consult on any abnormalities I see on my cows or in case of a disease outbreak which is rare,” Mwangi explains.

He hopes to increase his herd of cows to 15 so that he can get between 200 and 300 litres of milk a day and have a bio-digester plant.

“With improved production, I can be able to supply some milk to the cooperative and eventually be able to buy a pick up so that I can buy and transport hay from Mwea and reduce on cost,” he says.

He notes that a bunch of hay in Mwea costs about Sh80 to Sh100 but when it gets to Kangari centre, it is sold for between Sh250 and Sh300. To pave way for expansion of his venture, Mwangi plans to uproot the few remaining tea plants in his family’s two-acre land and plant nappier grass.

He says tea farming is no longer lucrative as what he earns from milk daily, Sh3,000, is what many farmers earn from tea in a month.

Just how realistically profitable is farming chicken in Kenya?

“This is very little so I think I have no business with having tea in the farm. I also plan to buy land somewhere by the roadside in three years time,” says Mwangi.

He is now looking for additional funds to do this but taking a bank loan is a not an option for him as the interest rates are still very high.

“I wish there was a way I can take a loan with Uwezo Fund as an individual as taking a loan as a group is challenging. Some youths in this county have taken such loans and drunk all the money and defaulted, hence one person is left to bear the burden,” he says, adding that young people should not wait for white collar jobs.

“Always have a vision and work hard to achieve it. I have always wanted to be a dairy farmer and I worked hard to achieve my dreams,” Mwangi concludes.

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