Between 2000 and 2015 Charles Wathobio was a renowned graphic designer producing newspapers and magazines in his small enterprise in Madaraka, Nairobi which used to earn him about Sh60,000 per month.
Unaware of the full potential of dairy goats, in 2005 he decided to keep some two at the backyard of his Rongai home which sat on a 0.25-acre piece of the plot.
‘’Away from my main business, I wanted something which could keep me busy and earn me some income and further reducing my budget on foodstuffs. This is why I settled on the goats when I realised they are easy to rear,’’ said Wathobio.
Luckily enough the goats would multiply very fast and the plot seemed small to accommodate them so he started selling mature bucks of 12 months old at Sh15,000 each. This encouraged him.
‘’I realised that the goats were becoming way more profitable than I had thought. Under proper management, one goat can give birth to triplets and 3-4 litres of milk especially within 4 to 6 weeks after kidding,’’ said Wathobio.
Other than family consumption, he sold one litre of goat milk at Sh200 and above earning him about Sh50,000 per month out of the six goats he was milking.
He, therefore, decided to move his flock back to his rural home in Othaya, Nyeri County where there is enough space to increase his production.
After some online research and attending farmer events where he could learn more about breeding, feeding and the general management of the animals, he decided, around 2016 to abandon design work in town to concentrate on his dairy goat production.
‘’I came to a decision to invest Sh100,000 of my savings into the farming to increase by building a bigger and proper structure. I was convinced of its viability and the fact that it could also give me time to engage in other farm productions,’’ said Wathobio.
Given goats give birth to twins and triplets, in one year his stock had doubled and in in the subsequent two years, he had over 20 goats.
About five years down the line, he has totally changed from a renowned designer in town to become a renowned breeder in the country and beyond supplying bucks to his customers in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
He rears Alpine breed within his five acres piece of land in Othaya. “Alpine dairy goats are the best to rear because they are resistant to tropical diseases,” he said.
To get healthy goats, Wathobio uses artificial insemination. This makes his bucks to be of high demand by other farmers who are always in need of the males for breeding.
‘’I rarely keep bucks as they are in constant demand. This is because I have personally mastered the art of breeding the flock to meet market standards,’’ he said.
He sells a mature served does at between Sh20,000 and Sh25,000 each depending on the animal’s pregnancy stage while bucks which are between 12 and 18 months old, he sells at between Sh15,000 and Sh18,000 each.
He markets his animals via Facebook and WhatsApp groups whereby upon payment by his customers, he takes it upon himself to deliver the animals at a fee depending on the delivery points.
Wathobio also sells milk and yoghurt made from goat milk at Sh100 and Sh400 per litre respectively.
Currently, his stock stands at 40 goats out of which he milks about 30. Each gives between 1-3 litres a day.
His venture has so far grown. Today, he never struggles looking for a market because for a long time he has worked tediously to grow his wider customer base and now he estimates that in a month he can earn up to between Sh200,000 and Sh300,000 gross income.
‘’I have since partnered with a group of farmers and agro-entrepreneurs in the area to build a goat milk processing plant to provide market for enterprising farmers in the region,” said the 48-year-old farmer.