I am sure that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about farming is land. Most people are discouraged from starting dairy farming because they do not have “enough land”. But look at what Nancy Karanja isdoing on Sanla Farm. On just half an acre of land, where she lives and has three green houses, she is also keeping 20 dairy cows and getting over 500 litres of milk every day. Eden Farm, which earns the young Kanja more than Kshs.1 million every month, occupies no more than just 2 acres. So you see, even if you have a 40X80 piece of land, you can still do dairy farming.
If you have been following the market trends in Kenya and reading inspirational stories like that of Douglas Kanja of Eden Farm and Nancy Karanja of Sanla Farm, you know that dairy farming is the business to go into if you want a rather less rough way into the millionaire club. Yes, it is a less rough way because the market is so big yet largely unsatisfied. It is only recently that we saw fresh graduate like Wesley and Rose Ngeno, owners of LegutDairy Farm, going into dairy farming. Keeping cows for money has in the past been considered a thing for retirees but look at what young people are now doing with it!
Cool, you now know that dairy farming in Kenya can give you the gate pass into the millionaire club but what does it really take to start? Let’s take a look at what the successful dairy farmers have done; it’s the best way to know how to start dairy farming in Kenya and be successful at it.
Land is important but lack of it should not hinder you from starting. How?
So what must you have in order to start a successful dairy farming business?
On one of the interviews that Lelgut Farm owner Wesley Ngeno gave, he said, “Before you buy those cows or even construct sheds for them, make sure you know where you will be getting their feeds from. Otherwise you will cook ugali for your cows.” Funny but that’s it. Without feeds, and good ones at that, you will fail. Figure out where to get quality feeds and you are good to go. Douglas Kanja actually makes the feeds for himself at the farm. It can be quite expensive to buy dairy feeds so you should consider making them for yourself. It’s nothing like rocket science!
Is that all?
Well, you seriously want to follow Kanja’s advice on how to start dairy farming in Kenya. Before rolling out anything, the young man took a good time to carry out a feasibility study. He visited KARI at Naivasha, got referred to some 24 farms and ended up visiting 64 dairy farms in different parts of Kenya. Nice preparation huh? And that is one stage you don’t want to overlook unless you don’t mind being a failure. Wesley and Rose also tell us that they had to do some extensive information-seeking; contacting vets, going for agricultural shows and reading lots of materials on milk production. So this is the key to starting a successful dairy farm in Kenya: Get as much information about dairy farming as you can before rolling out.