For a farmer to become rich it doesn’t him to have a big piece of land. Mr John Omumang’a once a very poor resident is now ripping big from his ¼ acre piece of land in Lugari. One outstanding achievement of Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme (SCDP), a joint development programme between the national government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is capacity building among small-scale farmers in Lugari Sub County.
Mr John Omumang’ale,an established dairy goat farmer at Itumbu village in Chekalini location and a case study, has all reasons to thank the government and IFAD for enlightening him on how to utilise his small piece of land. “Before the coming of SCDP in July 2006, I was living helplessly and hopelessly on my ¼ acre of land,” confessed Omumang’ale, a member of Tumaini Support Group which benefited from a grant of 18 dairy goats by the programme.
Though formed by people living with HIV/AIDS, Omumang’ale, not a victim of the scourge, decided to join the group due to the then biting poverty in his house.
“Since my situation was not entirely different from theirs, they unanimously accepted me into the group,” remarked Omumang’ale who was elected as the group’s chairperson.
After enrolling the group with the programme, Lugari sub-county SCDP office embarked on capacity building it through training and educational tours to various places including Nyeri, Nakuru, Kisumu and Naivasha.
“Just like other groups, members of Tumaini Support were also taken to various training and informational tours before they were given dairy goats,” noted Lugari Sub County Livestock Development Officer, Mr Wellington Mang’oli.
According to Omumang’ale, the training and tours flashed ignorance out of them. “We were shocked and embarrassed upon hearing about the millions of shillings harvested by small-scale livestock farmers on small portions of land in places like Nyeri,” said Omumang’ale.
Omumang’ale recalled how he self-denied several meals during the Nyeri tour to save cash, which he, later on, used to buy his first ever indigenous goat.
After the first phase of the capacity building programme, SCDP donated one grade dairy goat to each member of Tumaini Support.
Besides the basic group training in dairy farming, the programme also sponsored Omumang’ale for other training in animal food nutrition in Naivasha and breeding in Busia.
The various trainings and educational tours equipped Omumang’ale with important skills and methods in dairy goat production and he aggressively put the same in practice, which has made him a much sought-after expert nowadays.
Due to Omumang’ale’s impressive performance, the Dairy Goat Association of Kenya (DGAK), through the local livestock department office, selected him as a multiplier and rewarded him with one breeder for the purpose.
“The breeder is currently serving the whole of Lugari Sub County,” said Omumang’ale who added the goat association routinely changes the breeder after 18 months.
For a job well done, the goat association further rewarded him with three more dairy goats.
His small-scale farm, now a beehive of activities, has attracted a number of farmers in the neighbourhood to goat dairy farming business.
Omumang’ale has subdivided his piece of land into smaller units where he has planted about 25 varieties of goat pasture, among them eatable cane banana, sweet potato veins, Lucian squirrel, and trees.
“Hardly a day passes before my wife and I play host to enthusiastic farmers, seeking either knowledge on dairy goat farming or breeding services,” remarks Omumang’ale.
Most beginning dairy goat farmers entrust their goats with him at a fee of about Sh.50 per day, “until when they have adequately prepared themselves,” he added.
According to Mang’oli, the livestock department has also been referring farmers from other parts of the county and its neighbours to the farms, “where Omumang’ale trains them on dairy goat farming,” he added.
Proceeds from the animals’ milk have enabled Omumang’ale perform duties, which he previously failed.
“The goats produce 5 litres of milk each in a day and have greatly transformed Omumang’ale’s life,” observed Mang’oli.
One litre of goat milk sells at Sh.200, retail price. “My elder children never went beyond class eight due to lack of funds, but with our last born daughter currently in Form two, we are a happy family,” noted Omumang’ale who hailed the programme for enabling him
construct a semi-permanent house.
According to the farmer, the health status of most members Tumaini Support group has improved since they started drinking goat milk.
He has embarked on expansion programme with his eyes trained on a poultry farming project.
The dairy farmer, who is now making a fortune out his small portion of land, blames ignorance for all the wasted time and opportunities prior to IFAD and government funded SDCP.
“I urge small-scale farmers to embrace livestock production, especially dairy goat farming,” he appealed who at the moment has 9 goats on his farm.
The Programme’s National Coordinator, Mr Moses Kembe revealed IFAD has allocated Sh.1.7 billion toward the upscaling of SCDP activities in nine counties it has been operating with during his inspection tour in Lugari Sub County in August. The counties are Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Bomet, Kakamega, Bungoma, Kisii and Nyamira.
Besides IFAD’s donation, the national government will pump Sh.303 million into the programme.
Benefiting communities are expected to raise a total of Sh.165 million during the additional phase that is set to begin this month and will run for three years up to 30th September 2019.