The uptake of goat milk in Kenya is increasing owing to its high nutrient components. The product, however, remains scarce as the venture is one of less explored yet profitable.
The Ministry of Agriculture statistics indicate that the country is home to about 15 million goats, but only 400,000 are dairy goats.
The low dairy goat farming uptake can be attributed to the myriad of challenges facing the sector, including a lack of quality breeding stock, industry cartels, and poor government research funding.
The few farmers who have stepped into the venture have attested to its profitability, given goat milk is more profitable than cow’s. A litre of goat milk costs up to Sh300 in supermarkets.
George Murithi, a Limuru-based farmer who started with three goats, shares the secrets of raking fortune from dairy goats.
Selecting the breed. The returns from commercial dairy goat farming mostly depend on selecting breeds, feeding, housing, and some other management.
Choose a breed that has high production and quality milk. The popular dairy goat breeds in Kenya are Saanen, Toggenburg, Barbari, and Jamunapari.
These breeds are hardy and have the ability to adapt to virtually all agro-climatic conditions while producing to their maximum.
Housing. Build a pen that will shield the goat from rain and the sun. You can put electric lighting if need be.
The pen should be clean, dry, and well-ventilated. It should also be free from pests and rodents. You should always use fresh hay or straw for bedding.
Initiate activities, even installing toys, so your goats can move around. This helps in making them healthy and active.
Feeding. I feed my goats at 6 am with brachiaria grass, supplementing with other feeds such as corn. Some farmers also produce their own feed, which is easier and safer at the end of the day.
Muriithi’s farm hosts 23 Toggenburg goat breeds which he bought at Sh16,000 per goat. He revealed he used about Sh64,000 to construct a shed for the goats.
Out of the 23 goats, Murithi is currently milking 14, which gives him an average of 20 litres a day. He sells a litre at Sh200 to his customers.
“Goat milk has good rewards unlike a cow’s and its price does not fluctuate, guaranteeing steady income,” he says.
The farmer also sells mature Toggenburg dairy goats at between Sh16,000 and Sh25,000, while a kid goes for Sh8,000.