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Violet Macharia: Veterinary Doctor Behind Multi-Million Dairy Goat Farm in Kahawa West, Nairobi

Agriculture and livestock farming continues to be one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy, raking in massive income for specialised farmers. In recent years, dairy goat farming has gained momentum and the likes of Violet Macharia are a testament to its growing potential.

Mrs. Macharia is the proprietor of Mash Farm, a dairy goat farm nestled in Kahawa West, Nairobi County. The farm sits on a 50 by 100 plot (1/8 of an acre) and is home to 73 dairy goats.

Violet began her farming journey in 2017 with just two kids (young one of a goat), German Alpine and British Alpine breeds. The former are brown in colour and the latter, black.

Today, her Toggenburg goats produce 3 litres a day each, Saanen produce over 5 litres daily, and the German Alpine also produce about 5 litres per day.

Violet Macharia demonstrates how to milk a goat at her Mash Farm in Kahawa West, Nairobi. |Photo| Courtesy|
Violet Macharia demonstrates how to milk a goat at her Mash Farm in Kahawa West, Nairobi. |Photo| Courtesy|

Drive

Violet was drawn into dairy goat farming due to the nutritional value of their milk. She always wanted goat milk for her family, and since it is expensive to buy on a regular, she sought to establish her own farm.

“I chose goats because I wanted specifically their milk for my family, because of nutritional benefits,” she notes during an interview with YouTube channel AIM Agriculture.

After acquiring her first two goats in 2017, Violet’s first milking session was in 2018, producing about 6 litres per day. Demand for the milk grew and customers started placing orders in advance.

Growth & Profitability

She grew her herd consequently and now keeps 73 goats on the farm. She sells a litre of milk for Ksh200 and there is a growing demand for the milk.

Violet has also sold a number of goats after attending agricultural shows.

Of all breeds, Saanen which is dubbed the queen of dairy goats has the highest milk production. Toggenburg the oldest dairy goat is known to have persistent milk production, though not as much as Saanen. Alpine are also prolific milk producers and excellent foragers which makes them thrive in harsh conditions.

According to Violet Macharia, a young goat of 3 to 8 months goes for Ksh15,000, whereas a mature dairy goat costs between Ksh30,000 to Ksh40,000 depending on the number of times the goat has given birth and other factors.

“My journey has been great. To succeed in any type of farming, you need to be patient,” she says

“It’s only after one year that I started to see benefits of goat farming.”

As opposed to cows, goats don’t need much space. A good structure with clean water and adequate food is enough. The professional veterinary officer notes that the structures should be constructed three to four feet off the ground to ward off pneumonia which is the most common disease among goats.

Mrs. Macharia is yet to encounter any diseases because her goats are kept in a closed area.

“If you keep your goats in an enclosed area, chances of getting diseases is minimal,” she observes.

Breeding

Violet Macharia notes that breeding is key in ensuring the profitability of a goat farm. In the 2023 Agricultural Show in Nairobi, her breeder goat won an award for the best male goat in Kenya.

“Without a good male you cannot succeed in goat farming,” she said.

Immediately after the birth of a kid, she wipes the placenta fluid and places it in a nursery. She then milks the mother immediately and feeds the baby using a bottle. When goats are allowed to lick and breastfed their young ones they may withhold milk. The kids are introduced to feeds after three weeks.

“To farmers intending to keep goats, go ahead and start because it’s easy to do so. It’s cheap; you can start with two goats. You don’t require alot of food and space,” she encourages.

Violet Macharia plans to expand her farm, noting that despite the increment in output, she is far from meeting the demand for goat milk.