By CGN Reporter
It’s around 10.30am on a Friday and we are warmly welcomed at the home of Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala.
Khamala, a first time MP who was elected on Amani National Congress (ANC) is putting on gumboots and a dust coat.
He then heads to the cow shed with milk can to milk his dairy cows. As he milks the cows, he narrates of how he started with one Holstein Friesian cow five years ago at Sh55, 000.
Speaking to the County Guardian News, the politician cum farmer said he bought the dairy cow with an in calf and after two months, the cow gave birth.
He said proceeds from her milk saw him (Khamala) buy other dairy cows and now has 13 of them in which 5 (Holstein Friesian) of them have delivered and the remaining 7 (Guernsey) are in calf.
“The Friesian dairy cow is the best breed I ever bought as it produces the highest amount of milk per lactation. In a day, it produces 30 litres in the morning and another 30 litres in the evening per day,” said Khamala.
Going by the statistics given by the MP, five dairy cows produces 300 litres per day totaling to 9000 litres of milk per month. A litre of milk at the local market is Sh60 meaning the legislator banks Sh540, 000 every month.
According to Bishop Khamala, the proceeds from dairy farming is used to cater for at least 63 orphans who are sponsored by his church, Cornerstone Church.
“They are semi – orphans, total orphans and from vulnerable families and are fully sponsored by the church. Church members act as guardians to the children and every year, we buy them dairy cows, goats and chicken for eggs,” said Khamala.
He said they move is to teach them to work when adults, adding that when at home over the weekend he takes care of his dairy cows by some of them .
“Other proceeds from the milk is used to take young girls especially those who dropped out of school after being impregnated to computer college and tailoring school. After completing the six month course, depending on how much we have saved, we start tailoring shops for self-sustainability,” he said.
The lawmaker said a good Friesian cows can record between 12 and 15 lactations during their lifetime and recommended farmers to for them so as to improve their standards of living. “They have a fast growth rate and on average calve for the first time from the age of 26 months,”
“Friesian’s milk has the lowest butterfat content of between 2.5 to 3.6 per cent and protein of 3.2 per cent as when compared with the other breed,” Bishop Khamala said.
He further said the that milk from Guernsey dairy cows has high content s of Beta-carotene, vitamin A saying the milk also has a high butterfat content of 5 per cent and a high protein content of 3.7 per cent.
“The breed an efficient converter of feed to milk products. Guernsey dairy cows require less feed than the other breeds and mature faster. It can produce 40 litres of milk per day,” said Khamala.
Besides dairy farming, the MP is also a sugarcane farmer and owns 100 acres of land under sugarcane.
He said that though the industry is facing challenges following the collapse of state-owned sugar millers like Mumias Sugar, he is able to get good money from it.
“An acre of parcel of land can give 30 tons of sugarcane. From my parcel of land, I sold last year 1500 tons of cane to a private sugar miller at Sh4, 200 per ton and then money I challenged to my election campaigns,” said Khamala.
He said sugarcane farming is a lucrative and asked the government to bail out all state owned sugar millers so as to revamp the economy of their respective regions.