Dairy Farmers in Kenya: Dairy farming in Kenya is one of the lucrative agricultural activities with so much potential. Our country is well-known as one of Africa’s biggest dairy product manufacturers. It is a great opportunity for farmers in the country to make a living while helping others with good-dairy products. Kenya has a populace of approximately 9,350,000 dairy cows. While it is easy to talk about such an industry, it is much harder to start dairy farming in Kenya; but only till you have a clear idea about the entire deal, as well as a knack for good business.
Below we highlight some classification of dairy farmers in Kenya

1) dreamers

Rotating on a mahogany seat with newspaper enjoying office WiFi and tea dream of owning a very modern farm crop up.. Doing research online and doing calculation on excel their cows ends up averaging milk production of 30l per day selling it at ksh 50 per litre, achieve female calf per year and sell it at Ksh 150,000 at seven month incalf. Even without budgeting for fodder they assume no cow will consume over 50% of total milk sold thus net income of Ksh 750 per cow per day. Miraculously their farm don’t have miscellaneous expenses, professional costs.

Next step is looking for an engineer “local fundi” to construct a cow shed who ends up compromising on cow comfort without forgetting exaggerated cost of construction. After receiving structures photos via WhatsApp extra morale is boosted and sends money his confidant to purchase several cow producing 30l. Next move is to look for networks how he can poach farm hand from a known dairy farm assumption being he can make good manager since he has learnt a lot from farm and dairy gurus.

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At this juncture farm has a manager, cows but no fodder. Panic buying of low quality fodder at an exorbitant prices begins. Investor runs to internet, consulting each and every person most diagnosing theft in farm. All this time wasted instead of working towards qualitative feeding cows keeps on losing body condition, high cost on treatment and some cases mortality.

Option remains to look for more money, hire and fire, eventually close farm.

2) hobby farmers

Careless on farm progress as long as cows are niece looking, body condition 4-4.5 and have place to relax on weekends and holidays. Would do anything to ensure farm is running smoothly (money is not a problem, utilization is the problem)

3) cultural farmers

Dairy farming is in their DNA, grew up with cows and the bond is too hard to break. Most believe on big herd size. Fall victim of believing and trusting wholly on traditional dairy farming and can’t change no matter what. Would do anything to ensure cows are healthy and some careless on production and general management of herd. Interestingly some cases cows are owned by family member but given to parent/relative to look after them on condition cows are mine but milk is yours and never ask more money for cows maintenance.

4) part timers farmers/opportunistic farmers/brokers

Keep cows purely to sell them and make money. Would do anything possible to maximize on production,growth,reproduction and maintain excellent herd health further more the best the practices the more the profit. Some will run a model farm and ask few penny as entrance fee or to few penny to learn on best farming tips. Others will have such a farm to maximize sales of other dairy related products. Others will analyze market dynamics and plan when to keep which animal in order to maximize profits.

5) make it or make it farmers

Have history of their herd, have records for their farm and have real costs of running the farm and have proper documentation of their strategic plan. Most are full time farmers or spend most of time in the farm. Will narrate well their shortcoming, untapped potential as well as their opportunities. Earn more from seasonal sales of cows.

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Have good fodder conservation plan, excellent breeding plan and in few words description of farm is well organized farm.

They always attribute their success to certain professional/consultants

So where do you fall?

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