Dairy Farming In Kenya – Business Plan

Dairy Farming in Kenya

Hello friends, today we are here with a new topic of “Dairy Farming In Kenya and Business Plan”. Dairy farming in Kenya is an ‘all season’ business and applying efficient management of a dairy farm is the key to success. Dairy farming in Kenya is very important in its contribution to the economies of both the developed and the developing countries of the world. The Kenyan economy is supported to a large extent by the Agricultural sector which is a major contributor to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The Agricultural sector supports the majority of Kenyans about 75% of whom earn their living from the farming sector directly or indirectly. Dairy farming in Kenya is the largest Agricultural sub-sector compared to other Agricultural farming. It contributes to about 14% of Gross Domestic Products in Agricultural sector and when combined to Kenya National Goods Domestic Product it produces 3.5%. Dairy production in Kenya is a major farm activity, where it is regarded as a major smallholder, source of income, incorporating over 1.8 million smallholder farm households, who produce over 70% of all milk marketed.

Milk production is a complex process that involves many variables, the input influence milk production which is essential to farmers. There are several factors affecting milk production mainly breed type of feeds, farming practices, and system.

Any aspiring dairy farmer before start-up needs to take the below things into consideration before starting business;

  • Investment required;
  • Sufficient Land required;
  • Type of breeds or number of animals to be acquired;
  • Fodder Management;
  • Prevention from diseases/vaccination of animals;
  • Breeding;
  • Maintenance of records;
  • Research local milk market;
  • Climatic conditions.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Dairy Farming In Kenya, Business Plan

Guide to Dairy Farming In Kenya
Guide to Dairy Farming In Kenya (Image credit: pixabay)

Dairy farming mainly involves breeding cows, milking them, and then selling the milk. The dairy farming business is profitable. Though, to build a successful, sustainable milk dairy farming business, you need sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently keep the milk cows, good management skills, and a good dairy farming business plan.

Smallholder dairy farming constitutes an important source of livelihoods to the majority of mixed crop-livestock farmers involved in agricultural production in Kenya. The number of benefits that farmers get from the dairy farming business cannot be underestimated. When done economically dairy farming is a profitable business to venture into. Also, it comes with a wide range of side benefits other than the production of milk such as manure for farming and farmers benefit by the sale of calves from the dairy cows.

Land Requirement for Dairy Farming in Kenya

The land is also an important factor for starting dairy farming. When selecting land for your dairy farm, some important considerations are the availability of quality and consistent water supply, the size of the land, quality of grass, and grazing pasture. Some other important factors include the availability of already made infrastructure like a good road network, milk facilities, electricity, pens, sheds, and buildings.

Dairy farming in Kenya also needs to set aside some land for fodder cultivation (for 10 cows depending upon soil rainfall, irrigation facilities, land required vary but 1.5 to 2.0 acres).

Some important factors to be considered when choosing land for dairy farming are;

  • The presence of suitable fertile soils
  • Convenience for transportation within the area
  • Proximity to milk collection centers
  • Access to water supplies for farming
  • Year-round supplies of sufficient clean water
  • Highland areas because the air temperature level decreases 6.5°C for every 1000 meters increase in altitude above sea level.

Housing for Dairy Farming in Kenya

To be successful in the dairy farming business in Kenya, you must provide good and adequate housing for the dairy cows. Housing for dairy cows is required for several reasons like protecting the dairy cattle from adverse weather conditions, confining the milk cows when they are not grazing, and allowing easier management and then control of the dairy milk herd. The best dairy design mainly depends on the local climatic conditions, budgetary constraints, and availability of bedding materials. When designing housing for the dairy milk herd, take into consideration the need to provide adequate space, feed and water facilities, milking facilities, waste management, and livestock handling features.

The different housing structures can be used for a dairy milk farm and these contain free-stall, tunnels, composite barns, tie-stall facilities, and dairy sheds. Also, other dairy milk cow structures are isolation pens, calving boxes, crowding pens, sorting corrals, working chutes and gates, and squeeze gates. Though, the necessity of the structures depends on the size of the dairy farming business. The dairy farm also needs good fencing, to contain the milk cows and manage their grazing. Equipment necessary for a cattle dairy farming business are cows drinking equipment, feeding equipment, buckets and pails, milking equipment, storage tanks, milk processing equipment, livestock trailer, and manure spreader.

Look for a Good Breed for Dairy Farming in Kenya

These are some of the main dairy breeds found in Kenya;


Some of the characteristics of a Friesian are;

  • The Friesian has a milk yield between 25–30 liters per day.
  • This cow originated in Holland and is now all over the world. They have a bodyweight of 500-550 kg
  • They are heavy feeders having a daily requirement of about 90 to 110 kg of fresh forage.
  • Requires large amounts of water.


  • The Jersey breed has a milk yield between 15–20 liters per day.
  • Purpose – Milk production.
  • Average yield – 22 liters/day and 6.3% butterfat.


  • The Ayrshire has a milk yield of 20 liters per day.
  • The Ayrshire originated in southwest Scotland.
  • Ayrshire weights about 450 kg
  • The Ayrshire is resistant to some diseases and adapts to varied climatic zones.
  • It requires 90 to 110 kg of fresh forage per day.


  • The Guernsey cow can give you up to 25 liters per day and the butter content 4.3 %.
  • It is known to be fast growers because at the age of about 2 years they are already into milk.
  • They weigh about 400 to 500 kgs
  • They are moderate feeders taking in 65 to 85 kg of fresh forage daily


  • The Fleckvieh breed is multi-purpose and meaning it can be used for milk and meat. It produces between 18 to 20 liters per day.
  • Follow the right breeding programs to ensure cow gives birth every year. It’s a huge blessing when a cow gives birth every year. It’s a big deal and it ensures you have a constant flow of milk and new cows to replace the old ones.
  • Always use artificial insemination (AI) to breed dairy cows.
  • It is cheaper to buy local breeds and use artificial insemination to perfect them over the years.

Factors Affecting the Production of Dairy Products

The dairy sector faces several challenges like Financial, Economic, and Production Resources, Production system, processing, marketing, and institutional problems in dairy product production. These all challenges affect the ability of the dairy sector to compete in the domestic and international markets. Milk production in Kenya is by small-scale farmers and large-scale farmers. Small-scale farmers are those farmers who own 1 to 5 animals and produce about 80% of the milk production in Kenya. Dairy production is affected by the resources available, which is the main to the production. Dairy farmers’ access to loans is equally a challenge, as they cannot offer the biological assets or cows as security and poor financial records and credit history of the farmers.

The Kenyan government through the Ministry of Agriculture has done a lot to improve the breed quality. Though, a lot of effort is needed to introduce new dairy products production systems which are more cost-effective. This can include a zero-grazing system since the farm size continues diminishing as the population continues increasing resulting in fewer dairy products production. Before the dairy sector was liberalized, milk used to be transported by organized milk collection and bulking system in the formal market by individual dairy farmers and dairy co-operative societies.

Factors affecting milk production are;

The amount of milk a cow produces mainly depends on the environment it’s in. The more comfortable the cow, the more amount of milk it will produce. Some environmental factors include;

Weather, climate, and geography – Geography is closely tied to weather and climate conditions. However, if they don’t have a chance to cool down, they will eat less feed and then produce less milk.

Feed – Weather and climate conditions can also affect the feed quality, which translates to the quantity and quality of milk produced. Feed prices can have a large impact on what farmers can use.

Some other important factors include;

Species – Different dairy breeds naturally produce different quantities (and qualities) of milk.

Age – Generally, younger cows produce more milk than older ones.

Milking frequency – Farmers are precise about how frequently cows are milked. The amount of milking per day adds to labor and equipment costs. But waiting too long between milking means quantity and quality will suffer.

Health – Sick cows produce less milk and poorer quality milk than healthy ones.

Dry period – How long a cow is allowed to be “dry” in-between calves impacts how much milk it will give during lactation.

Market Opportunities for Successful Dairy Farmers in Kenya

With the growing demand for dairy foods, there is an excellent potential for large-scale milk production in Kenya. Many farmers are adopting modern and advanced dairy farming methods and technologies. The entire country is now gearing towards the dairy farming business.

When we include the fact that Kenya has about 85% of the cattle population in East Africa, we know that there has been no better place to milk cows than Kenya.

List of Dairy Farms in Kenya

List of successful dairy farms in Kenya that are making millions in revenue in the cattle industry.

  • Wilsam Dairy Farm
  • Goshen Dairy Farm
  • Rafiki Farm Ltd
  • Da Bulls Mwangaza Farm
  • Sychar Farm
  • EDFAM Dairy
  • Eldoville Dairy
  • Olumara Estates Limited
  • Meved Dairy Farm
  • Chemusian Farm Limited
  • Rayside Farm
  • Tujenge Farm
  • Sameer Agriculture & Livestock Ltd. (SALL)
  • Kinangop Dairy limited
  • Brookside Dairy Limited
  • Lattana Dairy

Feeding Requirement for Dairy Farming in Kenya

Proper feeding allows your cows to better performance. Cows are simple creatures and give them food and they will give you milk. Though give them enough good and nutritious food and they will give you a lot of milk.

You may also check this: Guinea Fowl Farming.

Feeding Requirement for Dairy
Feeding Requirement for Dairy (pic source: pixabay)

Cow forage is divided into 2 groups; Dry and wet. This group constitutes 50% of its daily feed and an example of dry feed is hay. An example of wet feed is silage. You can feed dry and wet forage together or separately and it depends on the farmer. Then, the other half (50%) of feed is comprised of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. You can find minerals in your local store and mix the minerals with the feed. Protein sources are maize meal, cottonseed cake, sunflower cake, and fish meal, etc.

Here are some of the principles that you should use when selecting a feeding program for your cow. First, analyze the nutritional requirements of your cow. This is determining the condition of cows, for example for pregnant cows; you will select a diet with more supplements if the roughages don’t meet the nutritional requirements.

Increased feeding equals increased productivity. Consider the roughage-concentrate ratio. Ensure that cows are having higher roughage content and this keeps away any digestive disorders. Providing high-quality and appealing diets to cows increases their production and overall health of the cow. Then, good-tasting milk always comes from high-quality feeds given to the cows.

Dairy farming is always a profitable business when it is done economically. Then, the economical way of feeding your cow is growing your fodder. Some feeds will find their way from the blood to the milk and then affect the milk flavor. Ensure the feeds you have for cow don’t affect the quality of the cow’s milk and good tasteful milk is as a result of good quality feeds.

The types of feeds you give to your cows affect milk production. Then, farmers buy cows at high prices, only to make losses once the cows start producing less milk.

You need to give dairy cows fresh fodders, dry feeds, dairy meals, protein, and supplements. You can produce fresh fodder to cut down the expenses of purchasing. Leave the fresh fodder overnight to wilt before feeding it to cows. A dairy cow must eat between 15 and 20 kilograms of forage every day. Finally, make sure that dairy cattle have enough water.

Equipment for Dairy Farming in Kenya

The essential tools and equipment you must procure to start a dairy farming business in Kenya include;

  • Milking Machine
  • Ropes
  • Chaff Cutters
  • Parasite Control items like Knapsack Sprayers
  • Milk Strainers and Milk Churns

The Basic Requirement of Dairy farming in Kenya;

  • Proper shed construction.
  • Adequate water supply
  • Good breed of cows (High-yielding cows HF, Jersey, and Sahiwal, etc.)
  • Fodder management like dry fodder, green fodder, and concentrate
  • Labor
  • Proper vaccination schedule

Steps To Start a Dairy Farming in Kenya

In case if you miss this: Tilapia Fish Farming In Tanks.

Steps To Start a Dairy Farming in Kenya
Steps To Start a Dairy Farming in Kenya (pic credit: pixabay)

For you to have a successful dairy farming business in Kenya, you need to follow these fundamental steps;

Step 1) Market Research

It is mandatory to analyze the chosen market for the dairy business. Carry out surveys to find the area and population of target buyers for your dairy products. Also, you need to decide whether they prefer milk or other products. Then, this will help you maximize the profits from your investment. So, the dairy industry in Kenya has an established socio-economic credential for the country. Then, this means that you can earn a pride factor when you become a dairy producer in the region.

Essentially, a dairy farm is a kind of production and sales business. So, the penning down of a customized and detailed plan of business is something you must consider necessary before embarking on this field. Once you have conducted the evaluations of the macro-environmental aspects of the dairy business, you must construct a detailed business plan to be followed for setting up your dairy farm in the country. The dairy farming business plan in Kenya would be like any other business plan and should consist of financial management, operations management, sales and marketing management, and human resource management plans.

Step 2) Capital and Land

Draw up a realistic plan that depicts your accessible resources and then how you can use them effectively to get enough land and equipment to start. The land size depends on the scale of the business, with housing, grazing areas, and waste disposal parts included. Therefore, the site of your dairy farm is vital to the success of the business.

Step 3) Breed selection and fodder

Before making any decision concerning your dairy farm, the relationship between the environment and the cattle must be investigated. The ecological considerations will help to find the most successful cattle type in Kenya as well as the most plausible fodder type for forage. For starters, consider using 3rd or 2nd dairy crosses instead of high-bred cattle. Also, consider growing your feed instead of buying to save the budget of other financial expenses.

Researching the dairy breeds and species is a mandate before you select the dairy species which you should include in your dairy farm. Each of these animals has multiple breeds. You want to consider the regional environment, climatic and topographic conditions, and the requirements of the dairy farm while choosing the right breed and the right species of dairy animals to be bought for the farm.

Dairy cows are reared in dairy farms in Kenya and but before you buy a dairy cow, you want to analyze the appropriateness of the breeds. Then, you can consult the already established and successful dairy farms, the agricultural extension of local universities, and the government institutions and industry experts to decide about the inclusion of dairy animals in a farm.

Step 4) Management Levels and Production Systems

Spend time finding the right balance between the available resource and the chosen dairy management strategy. In Kenya, intensive schemes where the cattle are enclosed for their life cycles are favored as the more efficient system. Also, labor provisions must be considered, outsourcing some services is cheaper than doing them yourself.

Health Care and Management Plan in Dairy Framing in Kenya

Before you start a dairy farming business, you should focus on developing a detailed farm management plan consisting of an animal health care plan, waste management plan, breeding strategies, and feeding and cropping methods. While selecting the appropriate feeding and fodder practices, farm management practices, waste management, breeding, and healthcare can help you in setting up and running a successful as well as sustainable dairy farm business. Then, you can refer to the globally recognized good dairy farming practices for developing a dairy farm management plan. Looking after the farm animal’s health, hygiene, and well-being of the animals reared in the farm is a thumb rule for making the dairy farm smoothly operational. You must be updated with the latest techniques of dairy cow rearing and breeding. Another of the core practices you must follow for sustainable dairy farm management is the management of waste products and by-products from the operations of the farm.

Tips for a Successful Dairy Farming in Kenya

The dairy farming industry has over the past decade faced numerous and substantive changes and the scaling up for effective milk production through the expanding population in the Kenyan markets. Trends such as technological advancements in the field of animal breeding, supplements, and nutrition, cow health have made it a viable source of income for many farmers in Kenya. Though, most of the dairy farming in Kenya still practices milk production on a small scale area which has largely stagnated.

To start a profitable dairy farm in Kenya, follow these simple tips;

1. Select Suitable Breed for Dairy Farming

The successful cattle breed in Kenya is the Sahiwal, because which is capable of thriving in even the harshest environmental conditions, especially in the arid and semi-arid regions. Some local breeds like the Sahiwal are mostly the logical choices when crossed with exotic breeds. But, consult experts before you finalize whatever plan you have prepared for the dairy farm.

2. Have a Proper Plan

For successful dairy farming in Kenya, planning is key in day-to-day activities. A Detailed Business Plan and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of any dairy business endeavor are necessary. Also, you can utilize a cash flow diagram in writing out detailed and reasonable expectations and projections.

3. Proper Health Management

Ensure that you have put mechanisms in place for the early detection of diseases in farm animals. Then, this will help with immediate prevention after detection, which will also enhance the treatment regimen being rendered.

4. Recordkeeping

Recordkeeping is imperative to keep farm records on production, sales, feed sources, and breeding. Analyzing the results is key to advancing the prospects of the dairy farm business.

5. Create a Waste Management Plan

Most top dairy farmers in Kenya have robust waste management plans on their priority list. One of the essential things to consider before starting dairy farming in Kenya is waste management. If you have decided to invest in a cropping and feeding program, you can exploit the waste from the dairy farm, and which comes in the form of manure, to get better yield and maximize profits.

6. Feeding the Animals

It is advisable to cut the feed into bits to minimize wastage in the feeding process in the dairy business. Also, soak the feed with molasses soaked in water to soften it and then make it easier for the cattle to eat. If you can invest in dairy farming training in Kenya, the chances of success in this dairy sector can increase manifold because you need to have skilled and well-trained people working on your farm. The new age dairy farm owners stress the need for dairy farming record-keeping to obtain maximum efficiency in the management of the dairy farms.

Keeping records about the dairy cows and the farm is not only mandatory for meeting the legal and regulatory requirements in Kenya but records can also be useful for dairy farm management. Then, the information derived from these records can help the owners of the farms to make better and informed management decisions. It also creates scope for the owners to identify the areas of the dairy farm business which need improvement. Using the latest methods such as embryo transfer technology, milk recording, automatic milking systems, sensor technologies, and milk analyzers can boost the efficiency of the dairy farm.


  1. Hello,
    Thank you for the information.

    I would like to get started with animal farming on my 10 acre parcel, and would want to enlist an experienced farmer or Vet to walk with me.

    Could you please assist with some referrals.

    Thank you in advance.



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