Notes to broadcasters
In many parts of Africa, the changing climate is creating challenges for farmers. In eastern Kenya, farmers are faced with extended droughts.
In Kenya, most livestock keepers prefer to raise cattle. But with the changing climate, a few small-scale farmers in eastern Kenya have recently discovered that goat farming is a lucrative substitute for cows.
Goats are hardy animals, especially in dry areas. They do not consume a lot of fodder, can go for several days on the water in the food they eat, do not require much land, and, if well-managed, gain enough weight to be sold in six months.
This script shows how a small-scale farmer can get a lot of milk and manure, and eventually make money by selling goats.
This script is based on actual interviews. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating programming on dairy goat farming in your country.
Talk to farmers who raise dairy goats. You might ask them:
What are the benefits of raising dairy goats?
What are the challenges? How have you addressed those challenges?
Do you think farmers can make money in this area raising goats?
You could also host a call-in program where farmers talk about these issues. You could invite an expert to talk and respond to farmers’ questions and comments.
Estimated running time: 25 minutes, with intro and outro music.
ScriptSig tune up then under
Men went to the towns to be casual construction workers to get a little money. Even children were involved because they could not sit in class hungry. Everyone had to contribute to put food on the table.
But now farmers have found ways to cope with the drought. Now we are growing drought-resistant crops and raising breeds of goats which are more tolerant of drought and are doing very well.
When farmers have a good number of goats and can sell one for good money, we encourage them to buy good water storage tanks. The water in these tanks can last them a long while, even when rains do not come when expected. And when the rains come, we encourage them to harvest rainwater. This has certainly changed farmers’ lives.Sig tune up and out under
A few years ago, the animal of choice for most farmers in this area was the cow. But cows can’t cope with the prolonged dry season. So switching to goats has made local farmers very happy. One such farmer is Teresia. She gets very excited when she talks about her goats. I met her recently on a trip to Mwingi in eastern Kenya.Farm sounds. Sound of footsteps. Fade and hold under conversation.
The project required us to buy a local doe to breed with the Toggenburg buck. I was skeptical about it, but I bought three local does and took them for mating with the male Toggenburg.
Each goat had two kids and I was amazed. They were bigger and stronger than the local goat breed. I sold some after six months and took the females for mating again with the Toggenburg. The next kids were even stronger than the first! And that is how I have been increasing my goats.
Indigenous goats are not large enough to be sold at six months old. Even at a year old, you can only get $25 U.S. for them. And a cross breed can live up to six years if you take good care of it.
The truth is that the quality of the milk is strongly related to how well you take care of the goats. The smell associated with goat milk results keeping milking does close to bucks. When I started selling goat milk in this area, there were some people who never drank goat milk. But now they drink it. They say they prefer my milk because it doesn’t have a foul smell.
The goats have been very good for me. We drink the milk at home, and I sell the surplus. From the milk sales, I can buy house supplies. When I am in dire need of money, I can sell a goat or two for school fees or a health need.
I opened a cereal shop not very far from here from the proceeds of these goats. I took a loan and also saved money from selling my goats with my farmers’ group. I bought a car and now I can transport my cereals and my goats to the market for sale.
Most importantly, my three children have gone to school because of these goats. Two girls have completed university and one is now in college. My grandchildren also enjoy goat milk; they are very healthy!
If you take good care of your goats, they will help you take care of your family. In fact, I have educated two of my six children on these goats. The goats have even won prizes at the Nairobi trade fair. They give a lot of milk if they receive supplemental feed while they are lactating. You can milk a healthy cross breed three times a day. For some farmers, these goats are more profitable than cows. I prefer them.
So how should you take care of your dairy goats to get the most from them? I spoke to Professor Isaac Sanga Kosgey, an animal breeding and genetics expert. I began by asking him what goat breeds are available in Africa.
Toggenburgs cannot produce milk if they are not fed properly. They also need to be disease-free, and should not be exposed to the sun for too long. Compared to indigenous goats, Toggenburgs are also very susceptible to pneumonia.
It is important to feed Toggenburgs with a balance of energy foods, protein and minerals. You can use fish meal or legumes to provide protein. You also need to provide adequate forage in the form of grass, such as Napier grass or sweet potato vines.
Another thing to consider is housing. Good housing is essential. It is important to ensure that wind does not blow through goat housing.
You need to raise the goat pen above the ground a little less than knee height. In this way, the goat does not sleep on its droppings or urine. Build the floor of the pen with wooden slats and leave half-inch spaces between the slats so that the droppings can fall between and onto the ground.
You also need to ensure that the goat pen is clean and dry all the time and that there is proper ventilation. Make sure the roof doesn’t leak and that the feeding troughs are clean. Also, separate young goats from adults to avoid the adult goats trampling on the young ones.
Deworming is very important too. It’s good to deworm all animals before mating, and to deworm pregnant does before they give birth. Young ones are dewormed at three months of age when they stop suckling and start weaning. It is also important to deworm before the start of the rainy seasons.
We also separate the male and female to avoid having the “goaty” smell in the milk. That smell comes from the male goats, who smell very goaty indeed, particularly during the mating season. The odour spreads easily, and can easily be picked up by the milk, which can cause people to reject it.
I would advise many people to go into goat farming. A Toggenburg, for example, can give up to five litres of milk a day, and it’s good quality milk. But above all, it is important to properly care for your animals.
I will summarize. You must: Feed your animal well, build proper housing, maintain good hygiene, and prevent diseases and parasites by regularly vaccinating and deworming. Also, ensure proper breeding by using healthy males. And finally, raise the young ones with proper care.
Contributed by: Ms. Winnie Onyimbo, Trans World Radio, Nairobi, Kenya
Reviewed by: Julie Ojango, Scientist, Animal Breeding Strategies, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya, and John G. Fitzsimons, Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Canada
Teresia Kyalo, Dairy goat farmer in Mwingi, eastern Kenya
Joseph Mwangangi Mkonzo, Dairy breeder in Mwingi, eastern Kenya
McDonald Mnuve, Farmer’s coordinator in Mwingi.
Interviews conducted on February 9 and March 12, 2015
- Ukilima Smart, undated. Dairy goat farming. http://www.ukulimasmart.co.ke/index.php/animal-husbandry/dairy-farming/241-dairy-goat-farming
- M.K. Ojango, C. Ahuya, A.M. Okeyo and J.E.O. Rege, 2010. The FARM-Africa dairy goat improvement project in Kenya: A case study. International Livestock Research Institute. http://agtr.ilri.cgiar.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=202&Itemid=239
- Carl Jansen and Kees van den Burg, 2004. Goat keeping in the tropics. Agromisa Foundation, fourth edition. http://publications.cta.int/media/publications/downloads/371_PDF.pdf (619 KB)
- Boniface K. Kaberia, Mr. Patrick Mutia and Mr. Camillus Ahuya, undated. Farmers dairy goat production handbook. FARM Africa. Downloadable at http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/Livestock/DairyGoat.pdf (18 KB)