Many would-be dairy goat farmers fail to pick this lucrative venture by doubting if there would be market for it. And yes there is if you ask Dr Mugo Njeru of Kibidav Limited which is marketing Toggs Goat’s Milk Products”.
The three year old company is looking for farmers to join hands and make money out of this venture. The catch is to have at least 300 litres! And they pay Sh70 per litre.
Although dairy goats, when compared to the traditional dairy cows, are easier to feed and earn more income the number of farmers engaged in their rearing is still low. This is despite the fact that goat milk is a great source of nutrients.
But slowly, the dairy goat markets, as we found out in our survey continue to soar high as companies are sprucing to market goat milk extensively, especially milk from the Toggenburg breed.
Commonly known as Toggs, this milk goat originated in Switzerland in the Toggenburg Valley of St Gallen. According to experts, the Toggenburg goat breed, which has caught up well in Kenya, is a spectacular dairy goat due to its doe’s high milk production.
When we visited Kibidav factory in Kibichiku, Kabete in Kiambu County we found a enterprise that is exploiting the Toggenburg potential in Kenya by processing the milk and supplying it to supermarkets and other retail outlets.
It turned out that Kibidav Limited is now the leading processor and supplier of Goat’s Milk Products in Kenya’s retail market, under the brand “Toggs Goat’s Milk Products”.
Dr Njeru Mugo, the company’s General Manager, attributes the sensation of their dairy goat venture to new knowledge about its nutritional potential.
The company has not only a milk processing plant but has a growing herd of dairy goats with Toggenburg breed currently standing at 84.
The company’s products hit the market in 2012 and range from pasteurized whole goat milk, yoghurt (in vanilla, strawberry, peach and Natural flavours), and Soft cheese (white classic Chevrè) and fresh Spread (plain or with herbs) goat’s milk cheese.
“The products are packed at the highest level of hygiene and marketed through the Supermarkets. They are available in various outlets including Supermarkets (Nakumatt, Uchumi, Chandarana Supermarket stores, Cleanshelf, Kamindi, and Selfridges), Provision Stores (Karen, Muthaiga Mini Market), River Café-Gigiri and Major Hotels including Sankara Hotel and Java restaurants,” states the General Manager. Other retail outlets across Nairobi and its environs include; Yaya Centre, Lavington Green shopping centre, ABC Plaza along Waiyaki Way and Mobil Plaza at Muthaiga. Village Market, Ridgeways, Westgate, Ukay, Lifestyle, Moi Avenue, Mega, Ngong Road, Junction,and Galleria are no exception.
Dr Mugo tells us that goat’s milk is simply the best bet as it is suitable for even lactose intolerant persons. This, he says, is attributed to less lactose in goat’s milk as compared to cow’s milk.
Also, goats’ milk is easily digestible with less allergenic proteins but higher in minerals making it a great recommendation for stomach ulcers.
“The fat globules in goat’s milk are easier to digest because they contain a higher proportion of short and medium-chain fatty. Goat’s milk proteins form a softer curd, which makes it easier to digest with the richness of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, chlorine and manganese minerals; and because goats’ milk soothes the digestive tract, it has long been used and recommended as an aid in the treatment of ulcers due to its more effective buffering capacity,” he affirms.
Further, Dr Mugo who has witnessed the inception and growth of the goat milk plant that started off with a total of 17 Toggenburgs says, in order to interact with the surrounding farmers, they source raw milk and also market their value added products.
The plant processes 2,000 litres of goat milk weekly from their farm’s own herd and outsourced from contracted farmers
“Our Kibichiku farm produces only 140 litres per week. The balance is outsourced from good practicing dairy goat farmers in the Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Nakuru Counties. Currently the company is paying Sh70 per litre of clean raw milk collected from the two bulking cooler tanks in Muthambi and Chemusian Farm in Tharaka – Nithi and Nakuru Counties respectively,” Dr Mugo states.
However, he disclosed that the logistics of collecting little amounts of milk and the costs of quality assurance tests is posing quite a big challenge.
“Most dairy goat farmers are keeping two or three goats and produce an average of one to two litres a day and the process of collecting them is quite expensive. The cost of one strip to test milk adulteration of goat’s milk is Sh1,503 meaning it is practically impossible to test the milk from every farmer; hence huge losses are incurred if the bulked milk tests positive,” he states.
This means that goat milk farmers must be ethical.
Dr Mugo says that the uptake of the value added products from the retail outlet shelves is still the determinant of the volumes the company can collect from the farmers. “As sales grow and the company explores new markets the demand of raw milk continues to increase,” he says.
At the moment, farmers are still advised to join into groups so that they can produce enough volumes of roughly 300 and above litres. He also advises the Dairy Goats farmers to acquire a cooler tank to bulk the milk for about three days.
Farmers can contact Kibidav Limited directly for advice on the status of contracting new farmers or farmer groups.
“It’s our vision that Goat’s milk processing and marketing will very soon become a thriving business and the farmers stand to benefit big time,” Dr Mugo concludes.
For quality assurance all Toggs Goat’s Milk Products are certified by KEBS and for traceability the products have unique Batch numbers and are bar coded through GS1 Kenya.
Although Toggs Goat’s Milk products have grabbed a stand in the marketplace the team behind its uniqueness and quality endures to generate awareness to the consumers especially on the health benefits.
Kibidav Limited Company’s structure comprises of an accounts department, production department and sales department.
“Our secret is derived from our commitment to provide high quality and high value products “for a healthier you”. We have also established a transparent and honest partnership with our Suppliers as we continue to seek, listen and act on our esteemed customers’ feedback”, says the General Manager adding that they are eyeing on becoming a foreign exchange earner for the country through export to the international market.
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