In the heart of Nyeri County, Kenya, an ambitious farmer has revolutionized his agricultural practices and transformed his life. From humble beginnings as a primary school teacher, Githaiga Kihara embarked on a remarkable journey that would lead him to discover a hidden treasure within his farm: grass.
With sheer determination and a vision to reduce costs in milk production, Githaiga harnessed the potential of high-quality fodder, specifically brachiaria grass.
His is the ex-teacher inspiring story as told by WoK.
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Taking A Leap of Faith
In 2019, Githaiga made a life-changing decision to shut down his printing business to fully focus on rearing dairy goats. His eighth-acre farm in Gakindu, Mukurweini became home to 22 dairy goats of German Alpine, Toggenburg, and Saanen breeds.
A Teacher’s Transformation
After struggling with the high cost of commercial feed for his dairy goats, the former primary school teacher turned dairy goat farmer, discovered a lucrative opportunity in grass. He saw the potential to grow his own fodder and reduce expenses.
Challenges To Research
Driven by the need to provide optimal nutrition for his animals, Githaiga extensively researched various types of fodders. Eventually, he approached Kalro and invested Ksh5,000 in purchasing his first batch of brachiaria grass seeds.
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With a two-acre leased farm in Gakindu, Mukurweini, Githaiga cultivated two varieties of napier grass and eight varieties of brachiaria grasses-Cobra, Cayman, Piata, MG4, Xaraes, Mulato 2 and Basilisk.
According to former teacher, farmers prefer MG4 variety because its more rootie compared to Basilisk.
Cultivating Business Opportunities
As the brachiaria grass flourished, Githaiga recognized a promising business opportunity. Expanding his operations, he leased a total of 17 acres in different parts of Nyeri, ranging from Ksh7,000 to Ksh35,000 per annum. These farms became dedicated spaces for the production of high-quality fodder.
Speaking to Daily Nation Seeds of Gold, the farmer stated that he receives 20 customers.
“On a good day I receive 20 customers, mainly dairy farmers, but the average is eight,” he shared with DN.
An acre is able to produce 180 to 200 tonnes of Super napier which can grow upto 13 feet. Harvesting starts after three months with an acre feeding up to 30 cows.
Githaiga’s commitment to quality and adherence to industry standards led to the certification of his farms by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis). Kephis officials visited Githaiga’s farms, inspecting the fodder species and ensuring compliance with regulations.
The certification by Kephis not only solidified the farmer’s credibility but also instilled confidence in his customers. Livestock farmers sought out his certified fodder, knowing that it met the highest standards of quality and safety. This recognition further boosted Githaiga’s reputation and expanded his customer reach.
Growth and Success
With his extensive farming operations in place, Githaiga witnessed remarkable growth and success. His grass business thrived, and the demand for his fodder increased steadily. Githaiga’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to his craft propelled him forward.
As word spread about the quality of his products, he attracted a growing customer base and gained recognition as a reputable supplier of nutritious fodder.
Building A Sustainable Model
Brachiaria grass, with its remarkable nutritional composition, supports improved milk production in cows and helps farmers reduce the overall cost of production. Githaiga’s commitment to sustainable agriculture is evident in his farming practices.
By cultivating brachiaria grass, he contributes to the conservation of water resources and promotes the use of drought-tolerant crops.
Sharing Knowledge and Impact
As Githaiga’s business continued to flourish, he recognized the importance of sharing his knowledge and experiences with others. He actively utilizes social media platforms, such as Facebook, to engage with farmers, educate them about the benefits of brachiaria grass, and provide valuable insights into efficient farming practices.
Through his online presence, Githaiga has not only expanded his customer base but also become a source of inspiration and guidance for aspiring farmers.
As he continues to make a positive impact on the farming community, Githaiga serves as an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs and farmers alike.
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