In Summary
  • Across the road and far into the scattered woods, a few sheep, goats and cows tethered to trees scrape a nearly bare ground for the last straws of dried grass.
  • The 34-year-old has a three-quarter acre tract where he practices mixed farming. In one corner of the farm is a pan whose water Mutua uses to irrigate sukuma wiki and tomatoes in a greenhouse.
  • While in the poultry business, Mutua noticed that most of his neighbours paid a fortune to get milk, especially during dry seasons. He took the decision to add a dairy cow to his farm.
  • The project is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, World Agroforestry Centre and World Vision-Kenya. A half a kilogramme of the seeds costs about Sh500.

In Mwala, Machakos County, only farms close to water points are green. Crops in the rest, whose owners lack the means for irrigation, are wilted, having lost the fight to a harsh weather.

Across the road and far into the scattered woods, a few sheep, goats and cows tethered to trees scrape a nearly bare ground for the last straws of dried grass.

In Malumani, however, Arubanas Mutua’s three cows effortlessly supply the village with many litres of milk despite the dry weather that has destroyed pasture.

Just before the December 2018 short rains, Mutua planted napier grass on a quarter-acre piece of land, then bought several bales of stovers and grass from locals that he used to make hay.

And now while many farmers in the semi-arid region lack fodder for their livestock, Mutua is having a field day even as the drought rages.

During rainy seasons, many farmers in the area cut their grass. Mutua buys and stores as much grass as he can.

“The cows produce 20 litres of milk every day. I supply seven litres to a neighbouring school and sell the rest to villagers,” Mutua said, adding that a litre goes for Sh70.

The 34-year-old has a three-quarter acre tract where he practices mixed farming. In one corner of the farm is a pan whose water Mutua uses to irrigate sukuma wiki and tomatoes in a greenhouse. Near the water pan and the greenhouse is a fish pond while a cow and poultry pen stand just a few metres away.

For the father of three, mixed farming improves his source of income while cushioning him from possible loss should any of his several ventures fail. Mutua started as a poultry farmer in 2011, with a Kenbro cockerel and three hens.

In just months, the number of his birds had grown to 50.

While in the poultry business, Mutua noticed that most of his neighbours paid a fortune to get milk, especially during dry seasons. He took the decision to add a dairy cow to his farm.

“I sold the 50 birds at Sh700 each and bought a six-month-old calf from a dairy farm in Githunguri, Kiambu County, for I had long harboured the dream of engaging in the milk business,” Mutua told Seeds Of Gold.

He kept expanding his poultry venture as the calf grew. Mutua now has more than 100 birds.

Since he was rearing Kenbro chickens, which typically do not brood, Mutua found incubating the eggs from the many birds a huge challenge.

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