Goat program delivers '000s of superior crossbreeds
By Farmbiz | Thu 23 Aug, 2012

The Dairy Goats Association of Kenya (DGAK) is promoting the transformation of indigenous goats into superior breeds by helping breeders' groups select and import qualified bucks to mate with local does and produce superior pedigrees that deliver more of the highly lucrative goat's meat and milk.

Metumi Dairy Breeders Association is one of the affiliate community-based bodies implementing the goats upgrading strategy in Murang'a County. The Association has brought together 43 farmer groups, who have procured the exotic bucks to service their female indigenous goats.

Members have pooled their resources and bought bucks of the Alphine variety from Germany and the Torgenburg breed from Denmark. A three-month-old buck is currently selling at Sh10,000. The Metumi Association has developed a five year plan covering 2009 to 2013 to roll out the upgrading strategy to over 5,000 farmers.

James Kimani, a beneficiary of the programme, says goat rearing is quickly picking up as a lucrative undertaking. Kimani who has been actively involved in the crossbreeding says he sells a litre of goat milk at Sh70 compared to Sh25 for cow milk, with his clientele spanning from supermarkets to hospitals.

After every three months, he is able to sell at least three offspring, each at Sh10,000 and above, adding to the impressive income he gets from the monthly sale of milk. Goats, especially the new breeds, are also more lucrative than other livestock because of their low feed uptake. The inputs needed to care of one dairy mature cow can raise five to six mature goats, with goats consuming 5 to 8 kgs of wet material daily, where a dairy cow requires some 50 to 100 kgs.

Meru farmers have also moved aggressively into the goat breeding, with now one quarter of the 1,800 pure bred Toggenberg dairy goats in East and Central Africa being found in Meru, in a concentration that has now attracted buyers to the area.

Typical of the farmers now working closely with other farmers, the goat owners association, extension officers, researchers and non governmental organizations, is Mr. Ayub Bundi of Kigene village near Nkubu market in Meru Central, who has become a leading source of breeding stock in recent years for both local and international farmers.

From his herd of over 100, he earns about Sh1.5 million a year, the bulk of the revenue being from the sale of kids. His initial investment of Sh300,000 has yielded a huge return since 2006, he says. Recently he took a Sh300,000 loan from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to boost the venture further.

“I have expanded my cages and increased my breeding stock,” said the former high school teacher who now has 14 does, and one buck as breeding stock on his two acre farm. He has also now purchased a 30-acre farm in Timau to expand his goat breeding.

“We have sold goats to almost all other regions of the country. We have also exported to Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Angola,” said Mr. Bundi.
Each pure breed kid is sold at Sh25,000 with crossbreeds going for Sh12,000. The farm the also sells 15 kgs of milk a day to a local dairy.
The farm's monthly costs amount to Sh15,000, mainly for labour and purchased feeds. But other challenges are worms and pneumonia.

“A goat can kid twice a year, with twinning rates at 45 per cent. Triplets have also been born on the farm making goat keeping a very lucrative business. Goat manure and milk also adds to the farm’s returns,” said Mr. Bundi.

In Nyeri, Mr. Wilson Mwangi, who is a pioneer member of the DGAK, is himself a breeder of the Kenya Alpine, where a four-month-old she goat fetches upto Sh15, 000. A pregnant doe sells for Sh40,000 since the animals normally give birth to twins or triplets.

The German Alpine was introduced to Central Kenya by the Integrated Small Stock Livestock project (ISLP) in the early 1990’s to help increase milk production through the use of exotic breeds.
With the support of the German Aid Agency (GTZ), ISLP imported 30 German Alpine bucks in 1992 and doubled that figure two years later.

A feasibility study carried out in 1989 established that dairy farmers lacked quality breeding materials and in 1992 the government and GTZ launched a project to cross breed Kenyan female goats – Galla and Small East African - with German Alpine bucks.
The kids born from this breeding were called Foundation; the next generation was Intermediate, then Appendix and finally Pedigree or Kenya Alpine. However, the rising demand for high yielding goats from thousands of farmers now venturing into goat rearing and dairy has driven the need to import more as superior breeds continue to be developed in the West.

Currently, hundreds of farmers have placed orders for the Alpine goats but are having to wait. “Artificial insemination is being used to increase the number of breeds, but the percentage of failure is higher than in cows,” said Mr Mwangi.

The Dairy Goats Association of Kenya (DGAK) is promoting the transformation of indigenous goats into superior breeds by helping breeders' groups select and import qualified bucks to mate with local does and produce superior pedigrees that deliver more of the highly lucrative goat's meat and milk.

Metumi Dairy Breeders Association is one of the affiliate community-based bodies implementing the goats upgrading strategy in Murang'a County. The Association has brought together 43 farmer groups, who have procured the exotic bucks to service their female indigenous goats.

Members have pooled their resources and bought bucks of the Alphine variety from Germany and the Torgenburg breed from Denmark. A three-month-old buck is currently selling at Sh10,000. The Metumi Association has developed a five year plan covering 2009 to 2013 to roll out the upgrading strategy to over 5,000 farmers.

James Kimani, a beneficiary of the programme, says goat rearing is quickly picking up as a lucrative undertaking. Kimani who has been actively involved in the crossbreeding says he sells a litre of goat milk at Sh70 compared to Sh25 for cow milk, with his clientele spanning from supermarkets to hospitals.

After every three months, he is able to sell at least three offspring, each at Sh10,000 and above, adding to the impressive income he gets from the monthly sale of milk. Goats, especially the new breeds, are also more lucrative than other livestock because of their low feed uptake. The inputs needed to care of one dairy mature cow can raise five to six mature goats, with goats consuming 5 to 8 kgs of wet material daily, where a dairy cow requires some 50 to 100 kgs.

Meru farmers have also moved aggressively into the goat breeding, with now one quarter of the 1,800 pure bred Toggenberg dairy goats in East and Central Africa being found in Meru, in a concentration that has now attracted buyers to the area.


Typical of the farmers now working closely with other farmers, the goat owners association, extension officers, researchers and non governmental organizations, is Mr. Ayub Bundi of Kigene village near Nkubu market in Meru Central, who has become a leading source of breeding stock in recent years for both local and international farmers.

From his herd of over 100, he earns about Sh1.5 million a year, the bulk of the revenue being from the sale of kids. His initial investment of Sh300,000 has yielded a huge return since 2006, he says. Recently he took a Sh300,000 loan from the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) to boost the venture further.

“I have expanded my cages and increased my breeding stock,” said the former high school teacher who now has 14 does, and one buck as breeding stock on his two acre farm. He has also now purchased a 30-acre farm in Timau to expand his goat breeding.

“We have sold goats to almost all other regions of the country. We have also exported to Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and Angola,” said Mr. Bundi.
Each pure breed kid is sold at Sh25,000 with crossbreeds going for Sh12,000. The farm the also sells 15 kgs of milk a day to a local dairy.
The farm's monthly costs amount to Sh15,000, mainly for labour and purchased feeds. But other challenges are worms and pneumonia.
“A goat can kid twice a year, with twinning rates at 45 per cent. Triplets have also been born on the farm making goat keeping a very lucrative business. Goat manure and milk also adds to the farm’s
returns,” said Mr. Bundi.

In Nyeri, Mr. Wilson Mwangi, who is a pioneer member of the DGAK, is himself a breeder of the Kenya Alpine, where a four-month-old she goat fetches upto Sh15, 000. A pregnant doe sells for Sh40,000 since the animals normally give birth to twins or triplets.

The German Alpine was introduced to Central Kenya by the Integrated Small Stock Livestock project (ISLP) in the early 1990’s to help increase milk production through the use of exotic breeds.
With the support of the German Aid Agency (GTZ), ISLP imported 30 German Alpine bucks in 1992 and doubled that figure two years later.

A feasibility study carried out in 1989 established that dairy farmers lacked quality breeding materials and in 1992 the government and GTZ launched a project to cross breed Kenyan female goats – Galla and Small East African - with German Alpine bucks.
The kids born from this breeding were called Foundation; the next generation was Intermediate, then Appendix and finally Pedigree or Kenya Alpine. However, the rising demand for high yielding goats from thousands of farmers now venturing into goat rearing and dairy has driven the need to import more as superior breeds continue to be developed in the West.

Currently, hundreds of farmers have placed orders for the Alpine goats but are having to wait. “Artificial insemination is being used to increase the number of breeds, but the percentage of failure is higher than in cows,” said Mr Mwangi.

Written by Bob Koigi for African Laughter

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