Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Josphat Muiru: How I moved from one cow to producing 320 liters of milk per day

Josphat Muiru Kimani never regrets his decision to start farming, a journey that was inspired by his love for cows after having been brought up in a family of peasant farmers.

On his farm in Githunguri Kiambu County, he grows various crops, including tomatoes, coffee, sugarcane, and arrowroots. He is one of the major producers of milk and coffee in Githunguri.

Muiru started with one cow, which a few years later multiplied to 50 pedigree. The seed to become a farmer was ingrained in him at a young age by his father, who was a successful dairy farmer in the region.

A trip to a farming exhibition in Nairobi also sharpened his skills in farming, and in 2,000, he set up his farm, determined to build a name for himself.

His business took a few years to make a decent income, and in 2005 he was the third top milk producer in Githunguri, producing 320 liters of milk per day.

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It was not long before milk prices fell significantly due to cheap feeds, prompting him to get out of the business. With 50 pedigrees, Muiru ditched dairy farming and resorted to growing coffee.

He, however, couldn’t let his love for cows go and was back in the business in a few years. He presently breeds the animals and sells them to farmers across the country.

He presently milks 6 cows, with the most productive animal producing 30 liters of milk per day. Muiru sells a liter of milk at Sh 50.

The level of milk produced by each animal is determined by its calving date. When the flock becomes big, he sells them to cut production costs, with each cow going for up to Sh250,000.

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‘That price is not very high depending on the milk it produces, and some of them are pedigrees, so they have taken long to get there,’’ he said.

He feeds his animals with nappier grass which he supplements with the dairy meal and maize germ for higher milk production.

On his coffee farm, Muiru grows the disease-resistant Ruiru grafted variety. He fertilizes the crop organically with manure produced by his cows.

To ensure high yields, he sprays the coffee trees with foliar. He said that one coffee tree can produce over 20 kgs, which he sells at Sh170 per kg.

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