Edna Kaveza: Kenyatta University Graduate Who Started Dairy Farming with 4 Heifers, Now Produces 100 Liters of Milk Per Day

In the face of widespread unemployment, numerous accomplished graduates are finding themselves compelled to take up low-paying jobs, while others are exploring opportunities in the agricultural sector to sustain themselves.

One such individual with a unique journey is Edna Kaveza, a graduate from Kenyatta University. Nearly a decade ago, she found herself in a challenging situation after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.

Edna’s life took a significant turn when she chose to embrace an unconventional path that led her back to her roots in Vihiga County. In an area predominantly focused on small-scale tea and maize farming, Edna decided to venture into modern dairy farming, a choice that not only reshaped her own life but also became a source of inspiration for others.

Edna’s interest in dairy farming was sparked by her mother, who had been involved in it on a smaller scale. Encouraged by her mother to explore this avenue rather than struggling in the city, Edna, in 2019, partnered with her mother, Margaret Ahona, to purchase four Friesian heifers at Ksh 100,000 each, utilizing funds set aside for her siblings’ education.

To equip herself for the challenges ahead, Edna and her mother attended entrepreneurial and developmental dairy value chain training sessions facilitated by organizations like Welthungerhilfe (WHH). Through benchmarking, Edna gained valuable insights into elevating her venture into a full-time occupation.

Edna’s daily routine mirrors the commitment demanded in dairy farming. Starting her day at 4 am, she engages in milking the cows, ensuring the cleanliness of their living spaces, and supervising the feeding process. Understanding the impact of stress on cows and its subsequent effect on milk production, Edna emphasizes maintaining a clean and stress-free environment.

To enhance yields, Edna employs mobile applications to keep comprehensive records of her animals, allowing her to monitor the lactation and feeding cycles of each cow. Additionally, she produces her own silage from locally sourced Napier grass and maize plants, overcoming land limitations by leasing nearby farms.

By adhering to the Total Mixing Ratio (TMR) for silage and other feeds, Edna ensures optimal conditions for maximum milk production. Currently, she manages six dairy cows that collectively produce around 100 liters of milk daily, with the potential for even higher yields. Edna sells the milk at Sh50 per liter, translating to close to Sh5,000 in daily revenue.

“At the moment, only three cows are at the peak of milking. I milk close to 100 liters of milk a day and sell the milk at Sh50 a liter,” shared Edna Kaveza.