Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and dairy farming in particular, is a very lucrative venture if done right.
Over the past week, Kenya has reported a milk shortage crisis, with images of empty supermarket shelves doing rounds on social media.
In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that it will issue guidelines, allowing for a one month window for the importation of milk from other countries.
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A number of Kenyans have invested in the raring of dairy cows, and while some run dairies where they sell their own farm produce, others sell to dairy products manufacturers such as the Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), Brookside Dairies, among others.
WoK in this article takes a look at some of the prominent Kenyans who have heavily invested in dairy farming.
Kiptanui, a former world 3,000 metres steeplechase champion is living his best retirement life after a successful career in the tracks.
The former athlete boasts an investment portfolio with interests in agriculture, real estate, and retail.
Kiptanui is an astute milk producer in the North Rift. In 2016, he was producing well over 500 litres of milk each day and raking in half a million Kenyan shillings from his dairy hustle alone.
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After losing his South Mugirango parliamentary seat in 2013, the former MP went into farming is among the leading dairy farmers in the country.
Magara who is eyeing the Kisii gubernatorial seat in the August 9, 2022, general elections rears his animals on a small piece of land in Kajiado County. During an interview with K24 in 2018, the former MP revealed that he has over 70 cows on his dairy farm. The herd comprises of both high and low yielders.
According to reports, the former MP supplies about 3,500 litres of milk twice a week to Kenya Seed Company, his neighbours and new clients that are continuously referred to him.
Magara has proved to many that one does not require huge tracts of land to run a successful dairy business. He is keen on hygiene around the dairy. The cows even have their own radio that plays soothing music that helps them relax.
The cows are milked using machines since they are efficient and faster.
Magara developed a passion for farming while still in High School. In 2010, he began his journey with three five-month-old heifers which he bought from the Rift Valley Institue of Technology at Kh150,000 each.
He lists feeds as the biggest challenge in is his dairy farming journey. He spends about Ksh500,000 per month on feeds alone.
As of 2018, the former MP milked 500 litres per day from 24 cows.
He has since set up a cooling and pasteurising plant at the farm. He also produces yoghurt which is packaged and distributed to retailers.
The former Bomet county governor reportedly owns a dairy farm worth over Ksh60 million which sits on 30 acres of land in Tumoi. The farm has about 100 cows; about 70 heifers and some bulls.
Ruto developed a passion for dairy farming from his father who was among the pioneer dairy farmers in the South Rift region.
During an interview with KTN, the former governor revealed that he bought some of the cows for as much as Ksh 300,000 each. The herd yields between 25 to 40 litres of milk per cow per day.
The dairy farm also has a Ksh5 million cooling plant with a capacity of about 3,000 litres.
During the 2018 interview, the governor hoped to increase milk production at the farm by increasing his herd to about 300 dairy cows with a production of between 5,000 to 6,000 litres of milk per day.
Ruto also revealed plans of venturing into the production of ghee and yoghurt. The former governor sells his milk to the Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC).
On the farm, he rares Friesians, Ayrshires, and the Swiss Brown which he bought from the Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC).
The former governor’s cows do not drink cold water. He uses their waste to produce biogas which is used to heat the warm the water and other purposes on the farm.
The Emurua-Dikir MP’s dairy farm was relatively unknown until it hit the headlines in January 2020. This is after he lost 24 Holstein Friesian cows worth an estimated Ksh2.5 million after they ingested a poisonous mineral product.
Fredrick Mutai, the manager at Ng’eno’s Olekisiara Farm noted that the mineral product had been imported.
“The cows began shivering, foaming in the mouth and running wild before dropping dead one after the other five minutes after consuming the mineral salt.
“We immediately called a veterinary doctor who came and injected the animals in an effort to save them, but there was little he could do,” he told journalists.
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