In Summary
  • The engineer, who works in Switzerland as an executive director at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, has invested heavily in dairy farming.
  • The barn hosts 26 cows, 15 of which are mature animals. He is currently milking 10. Oloo also keeps seven calves and four bulls of the Ayrshire and Friesian breeds.
  • By producing his own feeds, the farmer says he has reduced operating costs. Williberg Farm sits on 12 acres, with the farmer using four to grow Boma Rhodes, brachiaria and Napier grass.
  • John Momanyi, who works with Sigma Feeds, acknowledges that there are substandard dairy feeds in the market, which result in poor and low milk production.

Maridi in Homa Bay County is a remote village, with most residents engaging in cane and maize farming.

Sweet potato farming and fishing in the nearby Lake Victoria are the other dominant agricultural activities.

Dairy farming is also taking root in the region, and Joseph Oloo, an engineer, is among farmers leading the way.

The engineer, who works in Switzerland as an executive director at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, has invested heavily in dairy farming.

Seeds of Gold recently caught up with him on his farm near Maridi Girls High School during his August-October holiday break.

At the entrance to his farm, which is christened Williberg, is a woodlot, hosting casualina and eucalyptus trees.

From afar, one also sees fish ponds and the dairy farming project, which sits on a 70-by-20 metres piece of land.

The barn hosts 26 cows, 15 of which are mature animals. He is currently milking 10. Oloo also keeps seven calves and four bulls of the Ayrshire and Friesian breeds.

“There has been a myth that Nyanza in general is not favourable for dairy farming. This region has very conducive climate for milk production, my farm proves it,” says the farmer, who started the venture early last year.

He injected into the business over Sh4 million from his savings. The cash was spent on the barns, five cows that he purchased at Sh100,000 each and labour, among other costs.

“The start was not that easy because the cows I bought were not productive. Some were crossbreeds and were drying off. It was disappointing,” he says, noting that getting quality dairy meal also became a challenge.

Adding to the list of challenges was getting competent workers who had studied animal management including feeding, hygiene and treatment.

“I sought to learn from other farmers. I visited established dairy farms in central and Rift Valley to learn how they were running their entities and the various aspects of management,” he says, adding he bought more animals of Ayrshire and Friesian breeds.

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