Ann Mwangi is the director of Meved Diary, a local diary selling milk and diary products such as yoghurts.
The business was set up about 16 years ago in a piece of land initially used to grow indigenous vegetables for sell.
But what was the inspiration behind the business? In this article, WoK looks at how the idea of Meved Diary was brought to life.
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After getting their piece of land, Ann first grew indigenous vegetables which he sold at Uchumi Supermarket among other stores.
They grew the vegetables until the 2007-2008 post-election violence when they moved into a two-bedroomed semi-permanent house built on the farm.
However, Ann had a difficulty in getting milk for consumption, and they had to travel over 40 KMS to get milk.
“One morning we woke up and realized that we couldn’t take tea with milk since we had no milk anywhere. We could only go towards Karatina to get the milk,” she said.
It was then when Ann and her husband decided to invest on dairy animals in a bid to get milk for themselves and sell within their locality.
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“Mid 2008, we decided to bring in a few animals which are fully hybrid. We brought the first six… We’ve continued and never looked back,” she explained.
Meved Diary was established later on when Ann failed to get market for milk as the number of cows in her farm kept increasing.
The milk was too much and the community could not absorb all of it forcing Ann to look for other ways of selling the milk.
Ann would approach milk processors but they were not allowed to sell their milk unless they were members of the association.
“We called various milk processors to ask if we can deliver milk to them but they wanted only members of the association. We tried about three processors but they all gave the same answers,” she said.
Ann and her husband decided to set up Meved Diary when milk in their storage tank, about 500 litres, went bad.
“We started to think of what else to do because the animals were increasing… that’s the time we decided to go to the next level of doing value addition. We started doing yoghurt and a bit of fermented milk,” she stated.
The company also offers other services including training farmers and people seeking to venture into dairy farming.
“This has not benefitted Kenyans alone, we’ve trained peoples from Uganda, groups from Ethiopia and we even had a class set up for that purpose,” Ann said.
Ann cited the feeds as their major challenge, she spoke of unavailability of quality feeds in the Kenyan market.
The journey in diary farming has not been easy, some of the challenges we have gone through is the feeds. We have to find ways to get quality feeds and fodder for our cows,” Ann said.
Meved Diary rear about 149 diary cows and 28 bulls.
At the moment, the company has a 500-litre and a 3000-litre processing line.
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