With a high rate of unemployment, many successful graduates are now resorting to menial jobs, while others venture into the agricultural sector to make a living.
Such is the story of Edna Kaveza, a graduate of Kenyatta University who found herself in this predicament almost ten years ago after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.
Edna’s journey took a turn when she decided to embrace a different path – one that led her back to her roots in Vihiga County.
In a region where many farmers focused on small-scale tea and maize plantations, Edna ventured into modern dairy farming, a decision that would reshape her life and inspire others along the way.
“My mother has always been into dairy farming but on a low scale. She is the one who encouraged me to try it out instead of suffering alone in the city,” said Kaveza.
In 2019, Edna partnered with her mother, Margaret Ahona, where she bought four Friesian heifers at Ksh 100,000 each.
“Mum was kind enough to chip into funds that she had saved up for my siblings’ education and we used that to buy four pedigree Friesian heifers,” said Kaveza.
To equip herself for the challenges ahead, Edna and her mother attended entrepreneurial and developmental dairy value chain training sessions facilitated by organizations like Welthungerhilfe (WHH).
Through benchmarking, Edna gained insights into upgrading her venture into a full-time job.
Edna’s daily routine reflects the dedication required in dairy farming.
Every morning at 4 am, she can be found milking the cows.
She also ensures the cleanliness of the cows’ units and oversees the feeding process.
“Cows hate stress and dirty environment. It triggers stress hormones and this in turn affects milk production levels,” says Kaveza.
To boast yields, She keeps up-to-date records of her animals using mobile applications, allowing her to monitor the lactation and feeding cycles of each cow.
“I can monitor the lactation and feeding cycle thanks to a mobile application that checks the feeding and milk programme of every cow,” said Kaveza.
Edna produces her own silage from locally sourced Napier grass and maize plants, leasing nearby farms to overcome the limitations of their ancestral land.
By maintaining the Total Mixing Ratio (TMR) for silage and other feeds, she ensures the right conditions for maximum milk production.
“One crucial thing in dairy farming is maintaining the right TMR because once you miss it you lose on milk production,” said Kaveza.
Currently, Edna has six dairy cows producing around 100 liters of milk daily, with the potential for even higher yields.
She sells a liter of milk for Sh50, translating to close to Sh5,000 in daily revenue.
“At the moment, only three cows are at the peak of milking. I milk close to 100 litres of milk a day and sell the milk at Sh50 a litre,” said Kaveza.