Like many farmers in Isiolo County, Lawrence Muchui had never dreamt of rearing dairy goats in a semi-arid land that is prone to droughts. Many are the farmers who have opted to keep their animals for meat production considering that they can be moved from place to place in search for pasture.
For Lawrence, his main challenge, when ActionAid International Kenya (AAIK) introduced the dairy goat rearing project was zero grazing, keeping goats in an enclosed area to ensure maximum productivity. He received a dairy goat from AAIK in the year 2011, a project that sort to ensure economic empowerment in the sub-urban areas of Isiolo. When he started milking the goat the challenge of zero grazing was no more, he has since managed the goat so well that he now place to extend his structure which can accommodate more goats.
I am really happy for receiving this goat now I do not have to worry about where to get milk for my family because every day we get at least two litres of milk.
says Lawrence Muchui.
In addition to the dairy goat that Lawrence received he also received a dairy buck which other community members would use to fertilize their female goats. This has led to his neighbours knocking his door when they want their female goats to produce more kids an idea that he has always welcomed.
Each group within a certain village was deciding who should keep the dairy buck and my neighbours suggested that I keep it in my home, I have managed so far and I like the project.
Muchui who owns a posho mill in Isiolo town says that another reason he would expand the dairy goat project in his homestead is that unlike many of his neighbours he gets the goat’s feed from the remains of milling maize and this nutritious and balanced food.
“I did not think that I will succeed in this project especially when I thought of zero grazing but I have now realised that it is very easy and every evening when I am leaving the posho mill I carry along with me the remnants which I give the goats.” Narrates Muchui.
Lawrence and his wife Dorcas Kaimuri have given the idea of farming a thought and it is evident from the chicken that scamper their compound trying to get a glimpse of anything edible. Though they come from the Meru community who are well acquainted with farming techniques none of them had given dairy goats rearing a thought.
“This project is really good we have seen the benefits of not buying milk on a daily basis, we now save the money or use it to do more things in our home like buying food and school books for children. Before the goats came, in a day we could spend up to Ksh. 70 to buy milk” says Kaimuri.
The mother of four is hopeful that when they expand the project they will not only benefit from the sale of milk but from the sale of the dairy goats which if well taken care of, sales at a better prize than the local goat.
Amid many challenges including drought in Isiolo County, insecurity has also continued to thrive with different communities clashing especially due to livestock and though it has not directly affected any farmer within the project many still remain oblivious of what would happen at any particular time.
To work against insecurity, Lawrence has constructed his structure in such a manner that, an enemy would not walk away with his goats which he now treasures will be a source of livelihood for his small happy family.
“Insecurity in Isiolo is rampant and every time we have skirmishes in the area people to lose their livestock therefore I decided to build my goat shed in a way that to access the goats you have to unlock three doors to get through and by that time I will have heard the burglar. Though it has not happened to any of my neighbors it is important to take precaution.” Asserts Lawrence