The Trilateral Partnership for Food Security, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), saw the successful importation of three breeds of dairy goats namely; alpine, toggenburg and saneen from South Africa to Nairobi and finally to Egerton University on the 27th of July, 2013.
They are a total of 30 goats with 5 sires and 5 dams for each breed. The goats were put under intensive care at the Dairy Goats Improvement Centre to facilitate quick adaptation of the Kenyan climate by the goats.
Alpine goats have a short glossy black coat with dazzling white face and leg markings. They are very good browsers and probably more content with part woodland and part pasture.
This breed of goats are proving their worth in commercial herds for their quality milk of high total solids that is required for today’s market, something which dairy product manufacturers all over the world are seeking.
Alpines have the advantage that they milk through two years without kidding and their milk is well known for its good flavor and high nutritional value. They do require grass for grazing however; they can live in areas of sparse growth that cannot support sheep and cows.
Saneen is a calm animal with short hair uniformly white. It is the dairy breed most widespread in the world. The saneen breed produces the most milk average and tends to have lower butterfat content.
They express unquestionable aptitude under intensive production.The Toggenburg breed is brown with white stripes on the face, ears and legs; are mostly short haired with erect ears. They are reliable milk producers in both temperate and tropical zones.
This project will be of great benefit to the university students and the surrounding community at large. This is because, unlike dairy goats, milk production from dairy cattle requires substantial capital investments including land, labour and technical, financial and managerial skills.
All these factors of production are not within the reach of most rural households who are resource limited and lack basic skills.
The goat has lower maintenance requirements compared to the cow and thus makes it an ideal animal for milk production by small scale farmers and rural households. In addition, goat milk production has the advantage that goat enterprises have lower capital investment requirements, concurrent with lower overall skills.