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Breeding dairy cows inspires police officer

By P.C KIPNGENO

Peter Mungai tends to his cows in Gathigi village, Githunguri, Kiambu County. He has 80 cows, which he breeds for sale.

Peter Mungai is a police officer who is attached to retired president Mwai Kibaki’s residence in Muthaiga, Nairobi. However, he is also a well-known dairy breeder, who has cut a niche for himself in the breeding industry.

He ventured into the agribusiness in 2007, and attests to the fact that the business is profitable. He was introduced to dairy farming sometimes back by his father.

After securing employment in 2007, he borrowed a loan from a bank, and embarked on dairy farming, specialising in breeding, especially of heifer cows.

“I took a total of Sh400,000 loan from Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB). But at least I was lucky I had a boost from my parents. I bought heifers that were not in-calf. I bought four of them, each cost around Sh35,000, then went for six that were in-calf, for Sh55,000,” reveals the farmer.

“I’ve connected pipes and you will never find a worker walking around with buckets. It is just a matter of opening the taps,” says the farmer, who has seven employees.

He says that he currently has a total of 80 cows, and most of his cows are females. He also specialises in Friesians breeding as they produce a lot of milk.

Besides earning from selling the animals, he also benefits from selling milk. Currently, he produces an average of 300-350 litres of milk per day, which he sells to Fresha Dairies at a price of about Sh38 per litre.

From the proceeds he gets from the sale of the animals and milk, the farmer has been able to purchase six plots, and developed them.

“Through this business, at least I have purchased six plots. I’ve four in Kamulu, and two in Mwihoko, Githurai,” reveals the farmer, who studied Criminology at Presbyterian University.

Mungai sells a 4-6 months-old calf at Sh50,000-Sh60,000, while a 6-12 months-old one goes for Sh70,000- Sh80,000.

He also sells heifers that are not in-calves at Sh120 each. “For the lactating cows, having calved once, it goes between Sh165,000 and Sh170,000,” he says, adding that he sells the one that has calved once or the one that produces 30 litres of milk at Sh170,000-Sh180,000.

Nevertheless, the farmer reveals that he adjusts prices, depending on the number of animals one purchases. “We are not so that fixed. We have sold to Uganda, Tanzania, and many farmers from the South and North Rift; Kericho, Nandi, Eldoret, Nakuru, and also Narok,” reveals Mungai.

He feeds his cows with napier grass, which he chops using a chopping machine, and mixes with other feeds. He sources napier grass from some of his neighbours who have the grass in abundance.

The farmer has given his cows peoples’ names, and one never misses to find names such as Daisy, Rose, Queen, among others, tagged on the ears of the cows, in the farm. The reason behind this, he says, is due to love for his cows.

“Sometimes you need to evaluate the names that you are giving to your animals because they may adopt those names and behave the same,” says Mungai, who has named the farm Munene Farm, the real name of his father.

He adds: “When a farmer purchases like Daisy, I will have his contacts, in case anything happens, I will be able to know from the vet which type of medication should be given to that animal.’’

In a bid to curb diseases that might attack his animals, Mungai has a vet that attends to his animals every day.

The farmer, who uses artificial insemination to breed his cows, says that the business of breeding and selling dairy cows is lucrative and there is no loss since one gets the milk and it is rare not to get customers.

He plans to expand his venture in a place called Kamakis, in Ruiru, where he has purchased a piece of land.

“I am also planning to venture into dairy goats farming,’’ he reveals.

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