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HomebusinessNaomi Ruara: How Githunguri Woman Built Multi-Million Dairy Farm in Her 20s

Naomi Ruara: How Githunguri Woman Built Multi-Million Dairy Farm in Her 20s

Naomi Ruara is a youth in agribusiness with a focus on Dairy farming. She owns and runs a dairy farm in Githunguri, Kiambu County. Her farm is home to 50 cows – 25 currently being milked – producing slightly above 400 litres per day.

She has been in the dairy business for around 10 years and underscores key lessons she has learnt in the process.

Her herd is managed by seven employees – three work at the farm, whereas the remaining four work in the dairy.

Kiambu dairy farmer Naomi Ruara at her farm. |Photo| Courtesy|
Kiambu dairy farmer Naomi Ruara at her farm. |Photo| Courtesy|

Establishment & Growth

During a recent YouTube interview, Naomi Ruara detailed the journey of how the farm grew from nothing – set up originally on leased land – to currently acquiring the new location.

The farm was setup around 2016 on a small plot with only one pedigree cow. Of the total herd currently, Naomi reveals that over 90 per cent of the herd have been bred at the farm.

In 2018, she acquired bigger land and finished constructing a new barn with a holding capacity of 45 cows by the end of 2019. It boasts a modernised design and houses a milking parlour.

Naomi attributes her success in life to dairy farming.

“I wouldn’t be where I am in terms of net worth if it was not for dairy farming. I have assets; title deeds, cars, a home, all because of dairy,” she says.

The enthusiastic dairy farmer notes that the endeavour has placed her ahead of some of her peers and has inspired others in her community, something she says motivates her to work even harder.

She rares Frisian cattle at the farm and her best cow currently produces an average of 38 litres per day.

Kiambu dairy farmer Naomi Ruara at her farm. |Photo| Courtesy|
Kiambu dairy farmer Naomi Ruara at her farm. |Photo| Courtesy|

Challenges

Just like many other businesses, Naomi has faced her fair share of challenges. At the beginning of the project, she says she was naive when it came to selecting and buying proper animals.

She also notes that she had little education regarding feeding and treating the cows. At one time, she concedes to losing 12 cows in a year.

Naomi and her partner also fell victim of acquiring low pedigree animals fattened by unscrupulous dealers. She learnt her lessons and started to work through the area farmers’ SACCO and licensed veterinary doctors.

“I have learnt to build my project step by step. I don’t want to rush into buying animals that will disappoint you. You will go buy a cow you are told is milked 25 litres a day and you will witness that. But when you bring it back to your farm and feed it the same way, it gives you a litre of milk,” she explained.

Naomi Ruara advises farmers of the multiple opportunities that can be tapped into. She explains that one can start a dairy farm with whichever size of land as long as there is access to feeds. However, she prefers to have a bigger farm for the sake of much better efficient feeds production.

She also advices farmers to ensure they acquire requisite skills and knowledge before setting up dairy farms.

The farmer also advices farmers to be tolerant when experiencing fluctuations in milk production since it can be due to multiple external factors. Scarcity of certain supplements and changes in weather can affect production.

Diseases can also be a major challenge and she advices farmers to be constantly in touch with veterinary officers, and avoid ‘keyboard’ farming.

Dairy farming requires significant capital to start. In Githunguri, Naomi notes that heifers cost between Ksh100,000 to Ksh150,000 depending on pedigree. When in-calf, the heifers cost between Ksh150,000 to Ksh250,000.

Social & Economic Benefit

Naomi encourages youths to venture into the business, advising that with proper knowledge and dedication, they can reap huge rewards.

She reveals that at her farm, she is currently producing 1 litre at a cost of Ksh28 and sells the said unit for Ksh49. She makes a profit of Ksh11 per litre from her 400 litres produced per day.

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