Located some 15 kilometers from Chuka town in Kathatwa sub location is Murang’a Farm owned by Sammy Murithi, 30.
Murithi keeps goats of the German Alpine and Toggenburg breeds, animals that he says have changed his life for the better thanks to their good income
“These breeds are hardy and have the ability to adapt to virtually all agro-climatic conditions while producing to their maximum. Their farming has given me an opportunity to live a decent life,” Murithi says.
So what makes his animals thrive? Muriithi farms brachiaria grass that helps him boost his dairy production. The fodder has thick leaves that make it hard for weeds to thrive, grows well in a wide range of agro-ecological zones and has a high vigour and high crude protein of between 14 – 20 percent.
The grass also experiences minimal attacks from pests and diseases making it a good choice.
For good breeding, Murithi says good nutrition, good housing and good health management, are key.
“The houses should be raised at least two feet from the ground with the feeding and resting areas separated. The shed should also be well lit, properly ventilated and kept clean and dry as dampness attracts pests and diseases,” he explains.
Murithi sells mature Alpine and Toggenburg dairy goats at between Sh16,000 – Sh25000, while a goat kid goes for Sh8,000.
He milks four goats, getting an average of 9 – 12 litres per day selling each at Sh90 locally. He has since embraced online platform Mkulima Young to market his products.
“Goat milk has good rewards unlike cow’s and its prices do not fluctuate guaranteeing steady income,” says Murithi, who previously farmed dairy cows but switched to the ruminants.
He notes that goats have minimal expense, high return and occupy a much smaller space compared to dairy cows.
“Disposing goats is also much easier compared to cows since one needs about Sh16,000 which a buyer would find it easier to get than the over Sh100,000 needed for a good cow.”
Murithi feeds his goats at 6am with brachiaria grass and maize, supplementing the feeds with some concentrates.
To boost his knowhow on goat farming, Murithi attends various seminars organised by the Dairy Goat Association of Kenya (DGAK) Nyeri for lessons.
“Inbreeding is one of the worst enemies of goats. To stop the menace, I normally get a buck from DGAK in Nyeri to serve my does.”
To supplement his income, Murithi started growing tree seedlings some six months ago, a business given birth by the goats, and is currently having 55,000.
“I ventured into tree seedlings as a strategy to make more income. With the smaller size of land I have, you have to be tactical,” explains Murithi, who quit drugs and got into farming with the venture making his transition smooth.
He says there is high demand for tree seedlings like mahogany, with the farmer selling each at Sh200, which will earn him a fortune once he clears the 55,000.
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