Matatu man turns top farmer and uses music to milk 74 cows
Meet Evans Gitau, the former tout and matatu driver today owns a dairy farm in Ikinu village, Kiambu County. He has been in the dairy industry for the past eight years, collect over 750 litres every day earning him between Kshs. 27000 and Kshs. 28,500 a day. Farmers Trends shares his story.
“I am the first-born in a family of seven, I dropped out of primary school and did menial jobs in the village before becoming a tout and a driver along the Githunguri-Kiambu-Nairobi route and in Eastleigh and Dagoretti but quit the job after working for four years (in 2001) due to police harassment,” he begins his story
He then returned home to help his widowed mother take care of her four cows and his responsibility was to feed them and deliver raw milk to Githunguri Dairy Co-operative Society, a job which also did not please him.
Gitau, “I did not like the job because it required me to do a lot of work but the returns were little since the animals only produced less than 30 litres of milk per day.
The 37 years old returned to Nairobi and got a job as a truck driver operating between the city and Mombasa which he also quit in 2011 citing poor pay, returned home and decided to concentrate on dairy farming, which was already flourishing after the establishment of the co-operative society.
He recalls, “I presented a proposal to the Sacco, which is owned by farmers, and I was advanced Sh240,000 to buy three Friesian cows. I disposed of the others that were on the farm. Milk output increased significantly, enabling me to repay the loan.”
Came 2013, Gitau used the title deed of their family land to borrow Kshs. 2 million and bought 17 Holstein Friesian cows from local farmers at Sh100,000 each. The animals were between two and six months in-calf and with the balance, he leased a 10-acre farm in the neighbouring Kiambaa sub-county where he farmed napier grass and maize for silage preparation.
Gita farm (Music)
The weather is hot as workers on the dairy farm manually milk cows. Mounted on the walls of the stone-walled cowshed that hosts 74 cows are two speakers through which a rhythm-and-blues tune filters in.
One may think that it is the workers on the 100 by 100 feet Farm who are enjoying the music as they milk the cows. However, the music targets the cows. Gitau notes that the cows enjoy different genres of songs throughout the day, depending on the moment, to make them relax and produce more.
Gitau, “When the music is on, the animals stay so calm and relaxed that, from outside, you can’t tell this is a dairy farm with several cows. when it is switched off, the cows moo and bellow,” says Gitau.
From 4am to 11am, the animals listen to gospel music, between 11am and 4pm rhythm and blues (RnB) and reggae, and local songs rule the waves in the barns. Thereafter, the radio is switched back to gospel music until 9pm when the system is put off.
He says, “When I was in the matatu sector, I realised that depending on the time of day, passengers relaxed when listening to different genres of music. In the morning while going to work, they enjoyed gospel music. In the afternoon and evening, RnBs, soul and local music. This is the schedule I borrowed because animals are like human bings.”
He says before he introduced the music, most cows would produce between 20 and 25 litres a day, but a majority now average 30 litres, he says.
“Cool music relaxes the hormones of a cow and enhances milk let-down, adding that the practice is common on big farms globally,” says Joseph Mureithi, the principal of Waruhiu Agricultural Development Centre in Githunguri, Kiambu.
Hits: 2833https://farmerstrend.co.ke/matatu-man-turns-top-farmer-using-music-to-milk-74-cows/https://i0.wp.com/farmerstrend.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Employees-milk-the-dairy-cattle-in-Gitaus-dairy-farm-Gita-Farm-in-Kiambu..jpg?fit=600%2C400&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/farmerstrend.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Employees-milk-the-dairy-cattle-in-Gitaus-dairy-farm-Gita-Farm-in-Kiambu..jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dairy FarmingIn LivestockSuccess StoriesGithunguri Dairy Co-operative Society Meet Evans Gitau, the former tout and matatu driver today owns a dairy farm in Ikinu village, Kiambu County. He has been in the dairy industry for the past eight years, collect over 750 litres every day earning him between Kshs. 27000 and Kshs. 28,500 a day. Farmers Trends...MalachiMalachi Motanomotanomalachi@gmail.comAuthorMalachi Motano is a Nairobi based Journalist who writes on matters of Science (Health, Agriculture, environment, climate change and education) with more than ten years experience on different media platforms ranging from Newspapers, radio and TV stations, again on different capacities thus as a News Stringer, contributor to staff reporter, editor, producer and anchor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgFarmers#Trend