Sunday, May 26, 2024

Robert Macharia: How I manage 82 dairy goats on my small plot in Githurai 45

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Robert Macharia is the director of Mwihoko Dairy Goat Farm located in the urban setting of Githurai 45.

With 11 years of experience in the business, Macharia credits much of its success to the proper establishment and use of a small land space.

His farm occupies a space of 40 feet by 60 feet, which is less than ⅛ of an acre. Macharia insists that planning is key to farming success in urban areas.

Mwihoko Dairy Goat Farm clinched the top position at the 2023 Nairobi International Trade Fair. This goes to show the farm’s status as a leading urban farm in the country.

In a YouTube interview with Farm Business EA, he began by offering advice to newbies venturing into agribusiness, particularly dairy goat rearing. He noted that fundamental knowledge is crucial.

Here are some of the key points Macharia gave to farmers for them to consider urban dairy goat farming:

  1. New farmers should shift their mindset from traditional farming to a relatively new concept; smart farming.
  2.  They need to recognize their close proximity to the market.
  3. One needs to embrace the agribusiness concept by understanding that they are not just farmers, but businessmen who’ve invested in the farm.

He recalled starting the business in 2012 with just two goats. He had never envisioned that it would grow to its current scale. At the time, he only wanted milk supply for his family.

Customer inquiries for milk began to pour in and Macharia had a light bulb moment. He saw the untapped opportunity in his urban area and decided to increase the number of animals he had.

Over the years, his animals have multiplied. Today, he has kept 82 dairy goats, taking into account the hundreds of animals he has sold.

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Macharia’s goats collectively yield more than 70 litres of milk daily, and due to the proximity to the market, his stock consistently runs out.

“When I’m advising a person to start agribusiness, it’s all about the passion. The passion that I had when starting is what has driven me this far,” he said.

Some goats in his herd produce as much as 4.8 litres of milk daily. In terms of feeding, Macharia provides his goats with dairy meal and a mixture of Lucern and Boma Rhodes grass.

“A farmer must understand that they should feed their animals in terms of quality, not quantity. We are not feeding them just to get full, we feed them to give them the nutrients their bodies need,” Macharia explained.

He has organized his goat pens into clusters, each designed for different stages of the animal’s development. Macharia bought two breeds of bucks to control inbreeding; a German Alpine and a French Alpine.

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