- Purity Mbae started the Mashambani Dairy Goats Farm with just two goats.
- The farm has since expanded and today she boasts of about 100 goats, writes EDGAR R. BATTE.
When Purity Mbae realised her baby was lactose-intolerant, she had to find a solution. It lay in goat milk. Her mother-in-law, in Kenya, reared goats and she willingly shared with her some milk.
However, it was not convenient for her to journey for milk when she could rear goats too. She talked to her husband, Kithinji Musyoka, about getting some goats from which they would get milk for their child.
They started with one goat in 2015 and bought two more a year later. The advice Mbae got from her mother-in-law was to look out for two types of goats, namely the Saanen, originally from Germany and Toggen, from Switzerland.
They bought the goats from a veterinary doctor, Dr Fred Sengendo, each at Shs200, 000 each. The determined Mbae bought three more goats, two at Shs270, 000 and one at Shs320, 000, which was pregnant. In total the couple spent Shs1.26m as capital investment on the goats. From their first buy, the two nannies gave birth to one kid each and from the later buy, the couple got two kids.
At that point, the Mbae started considering turning the domestic venture into a commercial projec, expanding, shelter construction. When the couple got the three goats, it had bought land to start a small farm in Mutundwe. However, the pastures were not coming up given the dry spells in the area. They had earlier on bought land in Mukono whose soils had better pastures. Late last year, after transferring some goats there, Musyoka started harbouring an idea of putting up structures in which they would rear commercial dairy goats. He has recently started the construction phrase, mirroring it against the structure they built within their compound which cost them approximately Shs4.5m. “We spent a lot on the floor because it had to be inclined for easy drainage. There is also a pit which collects the urine and it was cemented. The timber took a big fraction of the cost because it is well aligned,” Mbae explains.
In the shelter, they rear some 14 goats. When they started milking, mid last year, they would harvest about 25litres in the morning and 15litres in the evening. She adds, “By the end of February this year, we had about 20 goats in Mukono. 14 came from Kenya. One succumbed to long distance travelling. The others were bought from Luweero and Kasese.”
At some point, the couple had about 60 litres. Their sons’ consumption was lower than the production. At that point, she created a Facebook page called Mashambani Dairy Goats Farm.
Mashambani is a Swahili word that means ‘at the farm’. “We started posting to the public that we have goats. As my husband was buying goats, he met a lady called Grace Bwogi, a passionate goat farmer who opened our doors to more goat farmers and goat enthusiasts who got to know about our milk.”
At an expo at La Chateau Kampala recently, the couple got their first client, who asked them if they could supply her with 50 litres of goat milk per week. This was to supplement her yoghurt and cheese business. The couple was encouraged.
More people started knocking at their gate, asking for five to 10 litres. “We saw an opportunity. That is when we intensified the production and expanded the farm for commercial production, March this year. The first challenge was getting workers. Then, we used to pick any goat but because of lack of capacity to handle big numbers, we agreed only to pick the high yielders and leave the others to lactate,” Musyoka explains. The couple also decided that any goat that gave birth to more than three kids would stay at the farm in Mukono, just to breastfeed. They sell a litre of the milk at Shs7, 200. By June this year, their milk volumes had reached 20 litres in a day which would fetch them Shs144, 000.
As they enter a commercialisation phase, Musyoka says transportation remains a challenge. “We intend to save and buy milk vans,” Mbae says.
For now, they sell to domestic consumers, at some shops and have recently started supplying 13 litres of milk to Capital Shoppers in Ntinda and hope to expand to other branches.
Capital Shoppers pays them Shs93, 600 every time they deliver milk. They have retained the trust of their first client, and won over Gem Foundation to which they supply 20 litres of goat milk which earns them Shs144, 000.
“Every day, we take a step. The structure we are putting up will accommodate at least 200 goats. At the moment, we have about 100. We want to rear exotic goats,” Musyoka explains.
Advise to farmers
The couple has done intensive research on goat rearing and milk commercialisation.
“You have to be so sure that your milk is clean for the market, free from contamination and free from any infections. You have to ensure that the people who milk the goats have washed their hands very well, the goats are well washed and wiped with white wipes or tissues,” Musyoka advises.
On feeding, the couple advises that apart from the normal shrubs, supplement with crushed maize as well as soya, cotton seeds and sunflower.
“The beauty with goat milk is that it is very soft the stomach. It has low lactose and is the closest to a mother’s milk and it is best fed to children,” Mbae explains.
What others say about the couple’s venture…
Clarissa Kawumi – Director of Rissa Naturals ltd
Someone referred me to her when I wanted to buy goat milk as an ingredient for some of my products. She is good with her clients; she always calls to check on me and the business as well. She also became a client of mine and supports my business as well. I am happy for the growth of her business and look forward to long lasting relationship.
Harold Luzinda – customer
The quality of the milk is generally good. The packaging is nice and utmost hygiene is maintained.