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Dairy goats are ideally suited to milk production for family use. However, a successful enterprise will generate surplus, certainly occasionally and in some cases there will be a variable surplus for most of the time. In such cases it is often possible to find customers within the village who need milk for infant feeding.

Because of customer unfamiliarity with goats milk, it may initially be difficult for farmers to sell it as a substitute for scarce cows milk. However some have overcome this with a very simple marketing strategy. They invite friends to visit, give them tea and after they have drunk it let them know that it was made with goats milk. Having once tasted it, most people overcome their initial prejudice.

Goats milk dairy established by FARM-Africa in Meru, KenyaDairy

FARM-Africa have helped the Meru Goat Breeders Association in Kenya to establish a dairy which processes the milk from many individual farmers. Small-scale dairies are common in East Africa, but the innovative thing about this project is that the individual producers are selling their milk in very small quantities - often as little as ½ litre per day. However they have successfully created a milk collection network which addresses quality control and timely collection.

The dairy produces pasteurised fresh milk and also yogurt, both of high quality and sold through leading supermarkets in Nairobi. In order to use the milk processing equipment economically, a throughput of at least 500 litres a day is needed, and for maximum profitability 800 litres per day. This means at least 500 farmers must supply an average of at least 1 litre per day each. In our context this means that it is only feasible for a higher-level farmer’s group, and only once the programme is well established and many farmers are producing surplus milk.

Meat production

One of the problems that small scale farmers face in marketing goats is that they get a relatively low price from the traders. It is not always fair to blame the traders, because they face high expenses associated with collecting and transporting small numbers of goats from scattered producers. A more effective marketing strategy is for the farmers to agree on a selling date, so that they are in a stronger negotiating position with the buyer, who is able to collect a large number of goats in one go. If the numbers of goats were sufficiently high, it would even be feasible for them to be exported.

The drawback of such marketing is that the use of the goat as a ‘bank’ is diminished. It may be necessary therefore to simultaneously introduce local savings schemes if this marketing strategy is adopted


Initially the introduction of dairy goats has to be on the basis of improved household nutrition, with limited local sales of surplus milk. However, commercialisation is an important long-term strategy that can add significantly to the value of the goats.