“I am a dairy farmer producing an average of 50 litres of milk per day. I sell some to our co-operative (about 20 litres) and the remaining 30 litres I sell through my local milk bar. I have loyal customers who visit my milk bar daily and recently one of them challenged me to do value addition in dairy farming in Kenya on the milk to get more cash. Kindly shed more light on how I can achieve this,” this was an email query that was sent to an agri-business expert known as Joseph Othieno. Here’s his response:
Value addition in dairy farming in Kenya is the in thing in this sector of agriculture. It refers to that increase in value of a commodity as a result of changing its physical state, differentiated production, product segregation or employing a different marketing approach. The ‘new’ product must have some additional value that will persuade the customer to fork-out that extra coin on the newer product.
In as much as you get more, you will also have to invest in a little more with value addition in dairy farming in Kenya. With value addition in dairy farming in Kenya, you get more than what you would get when you sell the raw product. I will address what value addition of milk entails. From raw milk, you can make cheese, yoghurt, butter, ice cream, milk shakes, flavoured milk or maziwa lala and it fetches more than raw milk. The flavouring, processing and packaging has transformed the physical product we had initially and customers are willing to pay more for the product.
How go get value addition in dairy farming in Kenya right
Not all cow breeds produce rich milk. So if you want thick and rich milk, you may choose to have pure Ayrshires which guarantees you thicker butter/fat content and can brand your milk as such. It will attract more from buyers willing to pay that extra coin for the richer milk. Another example of differentiated production can come by way of adoption of organic agriculture in your dairy farming enterprise. Organic foods are steadily increasing in popularity due to health benefits.
Organic products are produced without use of pesticides, genetic modifications, antibiotic or hormonal treatment. A certification process is normally followed. Because of these high standards, the produce attracts smore. Better still, you can go the animal welfare way and brand your farm as one that duly follows animal welfare issues (but you must be practising this to the letter). Already in the West, eggs produced from free ranging birds rather than caged birds attract a higher value.
From the email, I noticed that Wamaitha’s was already getting more from his milk bar relative to what the co-operative was paying. He was getting more not because he had added anything to the milk but because he was using a different marketing strategy. Little did he know that already he was taking baby steps in value addition? A simple act like bottling can add value to your milk and further giving your farm free publicity. Consumers tend to develop a liking for things produced within their localities and that is a selling point that may just add value to your commodity.
Where to get started in value addition in dairy farming in Kenya
Now that value addition in dairy farming in Kenya earns you extra coins, it is worth noting that it comes at an extra cost. Value addition in dairy farming in Kenya requires proper planning. Analyse how feasible the step you are about to take. Do I have the necessary skills? If yes, will I need any equipment? At what cost? What are the legal requirements? To sharpen your skills, certainly you will have to attend some training. Many public institutions like Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology have courses on yoghurt, cheese and butter making. The courses are affordable. During this training, you will be educated on legal and health requirements and basic financial trainings that will enable you draw your business plan.
For more details on the legal, familiarise yourself with the Dairy Industry Act Cap 336 and Public Health Cap 242. You can also visit the Kenya Dairy Board branches countrywide for more useful information. To roll out the project, you will also need to buy some inputs and hire more workers to actualize your dream.