A dairy farmer in Uasin Gishu is making over Sh. 2.2 million from dairy farming and value addition. Apart from the usual milk, Mr. Jos Creemers of Lewa Baraka Farm has been making cheese and sour milk, further adding to his basket of profits at his Eldoret dairy farm.
Currently, his 60 cows produce between 1,500 litres of milk every day, an output that he notes has been constant throughout the year owing to good feeding techniques. This gives him Sh. 2,250,000 at Sh. 50 per litre every month.
However, in a day, the farm uses more than 400 litres of the produced milk in cheese processing, with one wheel of the product that measures five kilogrammes consuming 50 litres. He sells a kilogramme of cheese at between Sh800 and Sh900, depending on the age of the cheese.
However, from the farm, the cheese is sold as a wheel whole. “If I would be supplying the milk to companies or hotels, that would earn us about Sh40,000 a day, but processing fetches Sh80,000, giving me Sh.2.4 million every month.”
When venturing into cheese making, Creemers bought a cheese making machine at Sh1 million and a pasteuriser for producing mala at Sh50,000. “Initially, we had a cheese machine that had a daily processing capacity of 300 litres of milk. But we increased this to 2,000 litres this week, which translates to 200kg of cheese.”
“Ten litres of milk produce 1kg of cheese. Some 100 litres of the milk is pasteurised daily into mala. A 500ml packet of the Baraka Farmhouse Lala goes for Sh50.” After processing the milk into cheese and mala, Creemers usually sells the remaining 600 litres at Baraka Milk Bar, owned by the farm. The bar is in Eldoret.
“We have taken charge of our milk, and this enables us make more money. If I was dealing with processors or middlemen, then perhaps I would have closed shop,” says Creemers. “The cheese that we make is way below the required quantity by our customers. Demand is more than what we are able to produce.”
The farm, according to him, has had a constant supply of milk throughout the year, which he attributes to good care of his cows. “If you want to get the most out of your cow, proper care is the key to achieving that,” said the farmer.
Although cheese-making is tedious, cumbersome, and requires a lot of milk, he said the returns were worthwhile. Cheese-making takes up to eight hours, starting with pasteurisation of milk to making a cud that is cooled to give the product. “This is not a simple process. It calls for a high level of patience and dedication in order to achieve the best results,” said Mr Creemers.
The farm, according to Mr Creemers, plans to expand the cheese business to try to meet the high demand. During dry spell, milk production for most farmers who rely on natural pastures goes down but this has never happened to Mr Creemers because he preserves feeds for his animals.
“I also process commercial feeds, which play a significant role in supplementing the fodder that I feed my animals,” he said. According to him, processed dairy meal is meant to supply proteins to the cows as silage lacks this key nutritious component.
Every year, the farmer plants more than 75 acres of maize which he converts into silage. “I have silage that has been preserved on this farm since 2011. I have never run short of feeds for my cows. This is one thing that has given me an edge over other farmers during the dry spell,” he noted.
The farmer, who breeds his own cows on the farm, specializes in cows. Any bulls born on the farm are sold within three days.
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