Renson Mlegwa Mnyamwezi’s article in Smart Harvest focuses on Jimson Kambale, a successful dairy farmer in the Taita-Taveta County of Kenya’s Coast region. Kambale faced a lack of finances when he began his dream of dairy farming but managed to save while employed to start his farm. Kambale has become an expert in dairy keeping, with one of his cows winning the annual Mombasa Agricultural Show in 2014. He now charges a small fee to train other farmers on dairy keeping, from feeding and breeding to feed making, preservation, and storage.
Kambale’s journey has been a learning curve, beginning with one dairy cow that cost Sh. 22,000, which he bought with his savings. He now has five cows that produce a lot of milk, with the highest milk producer giving 42 liters of milk a day and the others averaging 28 liters. Kambale sells his milk in Voi town at Sh. 40 per liter, earning him Sh. 2,800 per day and Sh. 84,000 per month. He stores about 1,500 bales of hay and chaff cutter machine in his homestead, buying a bale of hay at Sh. 200 and selling it for between Sh. 350 and Sh. 400. Kambale grows his own napier grass on his 1.5-acre farm to manage costs.
Kambale has also diversified his farm by keeping poultry, producing six trays of eggs every day, earning him about Sh. 100,000 per month. He keeps his cow sheds and dairy cattle clean to manage mastitis and uses a milk machine to ensure all the milk is drained from the udder. Kambale uses qualified livestock extension officers to vaccinate his animals and uses a thermometer to measure their temperature, calling a vet immediately if he detects any problems. He has also improved his breeds by using quality semen.
Kambale has a good working relationship with county and national government officers, consulting them regularly to improve his milk yields. He travels to Central and Rift Valley to benchmark on how to improve milk production, mixing the ration of hay, napier, and salt to enhance milk production. Kambale’s story shows how determination, knowledge, and innovation can make dairy farming a profitable venture in the Coast region of Kenya.