How Mbae milks cash from dairy goats

Mbae takes visitors around her farm. PHOTOS/ JANE NAFULA

What you need to know:

Each and every goat at  Ms Mbae’s farm consumes about four to five kilogrammes of feed per day.

Ms Mbae rears goat breeds like the Swiss Toggenburg, arguing that they are adaptable to the climate along the lake region where her farm is located and that  they offer high milk yields.

On a daily basis, she sells about 120 litres of goat milk.

The farm price for each litres of dairy goat milk stands at Shs 5,000. The same litre goes for Shs 8,000 in supermarkets.

Disease prevention and proper nutrition is a practice that one has to stick to, if they are  to reap from dairy goats business , Ms purity Mbae, a renowned dairy goats farmer, has advised.

Ms Mbae, who is the co- director at Mashambani Dairy Goats Farm,  located in Banga Village, Mpata Subcounty off Katosi Road in  Mukono District said, those interested in her kind of farming must possess information about feeding goats and disease prevention and management to check unnecessary losses.

"When I ventured into dairy goats rearing, I could leave them to multiply and sustain themselves. I didn't know much about disease control. It was after I lost 102 out of the 124 goats I had to diseases that I rushed to the internet to search for information about the same. Things do not have to be like this, " Ms Mbae recalled the tragic days.

The huge loss she made motivated her to take keen interest in learning how to prevent diseases as well as what her goats feed on  to produce enough milk, both for  home consumption and sale.

Ms Mbae said whenever she detects signs of any disease among the goats, she applies the knowledge she has acquired over the years through reading and attending trainings regularly.

In addition, she doesn't take chances whenever any livestock disease outbreak is announced in the country.

"We are always guided by the  Mukono District veterinary office whenever there is an outbreak of livestock diseases," she said.


When it comes to feeding dairy goats,  Ms Mbae encouraged farmers to grow their own pastures but where not possible, source from credible sources due to Moulds in poorly dried hay or contaminated pastures (Flukes and worms).

She also emphasizes that goats like any other livestock should be given feeds containing nutrients, including proteins.

"We grow pasture variety such as Packchong, Mollato, chloride Gayana, Kericho grass, Desmodium, lab lab,  sweet potatoes and Jackbean,. We  have about 25 acres of pasture,  both natural and planted" she said.

The vines are reportedly rich in nutrients that goats require; such as proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins needed for proper growth and development, as well as boosting milk production.

Before the harvested vines are given to the goats, they are exposed to the sun for about eight hours, to reduce on the moisture content and ease the process of digestion.

They are also given water from a solar energy powered borehole constructed at the farm. 

Today, Ms Mbae who started with one dairy goat to supplement family nutrition, after her children reacted to cow milk about eight years ago,  now boasts of 300 goats of which 200 are female.

"We started with few goats. They later multiplied and milk became too much and we looked for the market where we could sell the surplus. Our target is to hit a mark of 300 females," she said.

They specialize in rearing Saanen since Toggens failed  to the climate along the lake region where her farm is located.

She noted that whereas an ordinary goat that has just given birth can produce 800 milliliters of milk per day, a well-fed hybrid breed of dairy goat will produce four to five litres of milk per day.

The farm gate price for milk stands at Shs  8,000.
Ms Mbae also processes surplus milk into yoghurt.

She also sells male goats for breeding. However, any imported male is not sold; rather, it is  exchanged with other dairy farmers because its expensive.

A mature male goat which  is ready for mating will go for a minimum of  Shs1 million and Shs5 million, depending on the breed.

Her wish is for more farmers to venture into goat milk production and make it popular, like it is the case in Asian countries like India and China. 

"In Uganda, like many other African countries, it is still a niche market.  It is about 0.1 percent of the market share. We hope it will grow. If we achieve one percent, that will be above average performance," she said. .

She however, acknowledged that for one to successfully venture into dairy goats rearing, they must have the finances needed to get things done.

She revealed that limited access to finances is one of the stumbling blocks against several farmers, especially women who are still hesitant to give it a try, despite livestock farming being a lucrative business.

The Ministry of Agriculture, animal industries and fisheries estimates that about five million households in Uganda own livestock, with poultry faming taking a lion's share at 42 million birds.

This is followed by cattle at 15 million, goats at 12.5 million, sheep at 4 million and pigs at 3.6 million. 

Early this month, experts from Uganda and African Union’s Inter- African Bureau for Animal Resources,  met in Kampala to deliberate on how to effectively implement the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems(RAFFS) project.

RAFFs is a three-year RAFF project (2022 to 2025) that aims to address the  impact of Covid- 19 pandemic,  the war between Ukraine and Russia as well as Climate Change shocks (triple crises) on Africa's feed and fodder sector in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. 

Available records indicate that feed and fodder shortages mainly exacerbated by the effects of  the triple crises,  have led to huge losses of livestock---over 8.9 million livestock in the Greater Horn of Africa region alone---eroded livelihoods, loss of incomes, and driven up prices of highly nutritive livestock sourced foods.

Some of the concerns that were raised during the meeting included; poor quality of feed and fodder on the market, the substance nature of the sector, high feed and fodder imports, outdated  feed laws,  among others.

Dr Robert Kibwika, the Principle Dairy Officer dairy and beef in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and fisheries was concerned about feed producers who adulterate them to make abnormal profits at the expense of  the health of animals and consumers of livestock products.

Reports about some individuals mixing ARVs with mainly chicken and swine feeds have in the past dominated the media, leaving consumers in the state of agony.

Responding to the concerns raised by Mr Kibwika, the assistant commissioner for animal nutrition in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Denis Maholo noted that the Animal Feeds Bill, 2023 is meant to  address such gaps.

Last month, Parliament passed Animal Feeds Bill which, once enacted into law, would regulate production, storage, importation,  exportation of feed and restore sanity in the sector.

 Records at the Ministry Agriculture indicate that feed constitutes 60 -70 percent of the total cost of animal production.