After five years in banking, Athanas Mbele Mwachia left his comfortable source of income to become a dairy farmer, an industry he describes as the real money-maker.
I thought for me to go into business, I had to venture into an industry where much money is pumped in every day. For an average Kenyan family, almost seventy percent of their income is spent on food. This was my inspiration,” the founder of Taitan Farm Limited says.
Taitan Farm is among the best dairy and beef farms in Kenya focused on improving human health. The hi-tech farm was founded in 2018 to encourage healthy consumption of animal products. Dairy is the main business of the farm at present but it has all the elements of an integrated farm such as beef farming, rabbit farming, poultry farming and pig rearing.
“Milk produced at the farm is pure and natural as the cattle are fed with green fodder grown within the farm using natural farming inputs,” Mwachia explains. “In a day, we produce an average of 150 liters of milk which is then processed into yoghurt; White Gold, which comes in both vanilla and strawberry flavor.”
The farm has also contracted and trained other dairy farmers in the area who supply them with milk every day to boost their yoghurt production.
Located in Wundanyi, the eleven-acre farm, has provided permanent employment for thirty-six local community members of whom ninety percent are youth. Something Mwachia says has transformed livelihoods and enhanced development in the region.
Taitan farm may look modest, but Mwachia says the journey has not been a walk in the park. The transition from the corporate world was not easy. He says that before he quit his job, he had to invest on their family land. “I first set up structures and bought seven cows which cost me more than Ksh 210,000.”
Armed with a few savings and a vision, Mwachia has walked the entrepreneurship journey and is confident that Taitan Farm has a place in the market. “The growing demand for yogurt especially among the young generation and nursing mothers has always given me hope that White Gold will someday be the brand of the people,” Mwachia says.
As an independent producer, Mwachia says it has greater freedom than as a banker.
You are the master of your destiny. I believe the organic produce I offer the market is able to take care of our health, improve communities and offer job opportunities to youth in the area,” Mwachia says.
Mwachia did not just dream, he prepared a bullet-proof green business plan. In 2014, he started a farm with seven cows. Despite financial constraints, cumbersome procedures and bureaucratic administration, now he has a herd of more than fifty cows and a dairy factory where the thirty-six employees produce organic milk and yoghurt.
The farm also sells high produce heifers, cows, organically reared pigs, rabbits and ‘kienyeji’ chicken and eggs.
“At Taitan farm, we have a very strong and vibrant marketing team that is made up of young people who ensure our product is visible in the market. We sell our products directly to the distributors and whole shops as we are trying to minimize the middleman-kind of business,” Mwachia explains. “The farm products can also be purchased all across the country through their Facebook page.”
Despite the effects of the COVID-19 which have affected every businessman in the country, Mwachia is a happy man to see how far his enterprise has come. “Although there are many challenges that come with being an entrepreneur, this is a risk I can always choose anytime,” Mwachia says.
“Technology is opening up loopholes to grow businesses, and I am ready to take the risk. The partnership with KCIC is very timely and I am really grateful that it has offered me a chance to expand my business and in future set up distribution centers in other counties,” Mwachia says.
Mwachia hopes that one day he will build an enterprise that is fully run by the youth and biologically safe.
Farming is fascinating. This is where the next millionaires will come from. The only thing is that it requires continuous hard-work and devotion without any distraction,” Mwachia concludes.