- Muriuki says he went into the venture after quitting his job as an accountant and trying his hand in horticulture farming
- Using sexed-semen, Muriuki has managed to grow his dairy herd to the current number, with the top producer yielding 32 litres at peak. Currently, he is milking four cows which offer him 75 litres a day.
- To ensure his cows feed well, Muriuki buys more than 10 feed ingredients and computes the total mixed ratio concentrate on the farm.
- He sells his milk to Meru Dairy at Sh35 per litre and spends about Sh800 a day to feed the cows. The dairy venture earns him at least Sh60,000 every month.
About 22km from Meru Town, off Ntugi market on the Meru-Nanyuki Road, wheat plants sway in sync with the blowing wind as one traverses the semi-arid Marurui village.
The little rainfall and insufficient water supply in the area overlooking Isiolo Town makes it unfriendly for farming activities.
Tall cacti trees and withering maize plantations that dot the plains are a testament of the water scarcity in the area.
It is in this tough environment that farmer Stephen Muriuki runs his thriving Fortune Dairy Farm, thanks to a water pan where he stores water.
He currently rears six dairy cows, five which are Friesian and one Ayrshire, having started the farm in 2011.
Muriuki says he went into the venture after quitting his job as an accountant and trying his hand in horticulture farming.
“I was employed in Nairobi as an accountant but the salary was so little. I decided to use my experience at one point as a salesperson in a dairy company to try and make money in farming,” he says, adding that the challenge, however, came from the location of his farm, which is arid.
He started with one cow which, according to him, was housed in a poorly done shed.
“When it rained, the cow would swim in mud. It was producing only 12 litres of milk,” Muriuki says, noting that he later gathered expertise from numerous visits to thriving dairy farms in Meru and Githunguri.
In 2016, he spent Sh280,000 to construct a standard house that can accommodate 16 cows.
The shed allows comfort and ease of movement, cleaning and feeding hence promising high milk yields.
“The water troughs fill up automatically to ensure constant supply of the commodity. They are also tiled for cleanliness. I learnt that cleanliness is paramount in dairy farming because it keeps away mastitis and other diseases.
With a well-designed structure, it is also easy to collect cow dung for biogas production,” he says.