Wachira was so impressed by the nutritional value of goat milk and the profit the women were churning out of their flock that he decided to give dairy goat farming a try.
Now he is rearing 15 dairy goats in his rented one-bedroomed house in Nairobi’s Maringo estate where he practises urban farming.
He started out with one goat which produced very little milk. But after deworming and feeding it with dairy meal, its milk production shot up. “I bought my first goat in Ruai but it was not producing a lot of milk. After I put it on dairy meal, it reached about two litres a day,” said Wachira, who keeps the animals in public land.
He started introducing the milk, rich in proteins and calcium, to his community in Maringo area who were a bit hesitant at first. But after tasting it on tea, they were hooked on the product, thanks to its its thickness and nutritional value.
According to Global Healing Centre, goats produce about two per cent of the global milk supply. Most people who consume goat milk cite a lower incidence of allergies and digestive complaints. Wachira says patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV prefer goat milk as it has more nutritional value compared to cow milk.
He now makes about Sh2,000 daily from milk produced by some of the 15 goats he keeps. One litre of the milk sells at Sh200. Wachira is now known as an ambassador for urban farming, a title that has taken him to local and international trade fairs.
Wachira was approached in 2013 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to showcase his project at the Nairobi International Trade Fair last year. Since then, he has never looked back. He now educates the public on how to keep dairy goats and their value to a farmer.
Speaking to Smart Harvest at last year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair, Wachira asked county governments to encourage the practice in their areas in a bid to eradicate poverty. He said it is economical to keep dairy goats because they take up little space and their feeds are affordable and easily available. “With dairy goats you cannot complain about having limited space. If you have about five goats giving you two litres a day and you sell one litre at Sh100, you will have made a substantial income,” he said. Philip Langat, the assistant director of livestock production at the Ministry of Agriculture, says dairy goat farming will help achieve sustainable development goals.
“If one goat gives you two litres of milk daily, then the money collected beats living on less than two dollars a day while the milks nutritional value ensures healthy lives,” Langat told Smart Harvest.
Wachira says he mixes dairy meal with maize and peas peels he gets from the market to feed his flock while saving on costs.
A dairy goat is sold at between Sh20,000 and Sh40,000 depending on its productivity. Wachira’s also keeps rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry. “I have about 500 rabbits but we still have to buy from other farmers because the market is very vast,” he said, pointing out that Tuskys supermarket is their biggest client.
He sells 1 kg of rabbit meat at Sh400. He also uses goat droppings and rotten vegetables to make compost manure which he sells to other farmers. “When it comes to waste management we are also on the fore front,” he points out.
By Lonah Kibet