Jeffrey Chimenya could not imagine that agriculture could one day allow him to own a decent home and have a thriving milk supplying business. Farming meant subsistence for Jeffrey; it didn’t mean success. Yet today, four years after joining the Nyadanawo Farmer Field School (FFS), Jeffrey says that his dreams are coming true. He is financially stable, able to take care of his family, and most importantly, has nutritious food available for his household.
Before participating in the Nyadanawo FFS, an initiative supported by FAO as part of the European Union-funded KULIMA programme, he says he struggled with dairy farming for seven years and saw little success. He bought cows simply because he saw others doing the same and he kept and fed them without any systematic approach.
“I started out with one heifer in 2012. Unfortunately, dairy farming was new territory for me, so I did not know how to go about things. By 2019, I only had three cows and no real benefits from my efforts,” he says.
Transforming livelihoods through FFS
When Jeffrey joined Nyadanawo FFS in 2019, he realized that, done correctly, livestock has huge potential for generating income. With the livestock management skills and knowledge he started to acquire, Jeffrey began reviving his ailing dairy business. He grew his herd to eight cows, which produce 50 -70 litres of milk daily and began to earn a regular income through sale of milk to processors and community members. He also keeps some of the milk for his family as a regular protein source. Jeffrey’s goal is to have 10 dairy cows by 2023, which based on his current experience, he says is achievable.
With the support and training from the FFS, Jeffrey also ventured into horticulture and started to grow tomatoes. With this additional income, he was able to buy land and build a new house to improve his family’s living conditions.
“I married into a matrilineal culture, which meant that I had no land ownership in my wife’s village. This made it important for me to find my own piece of land and establish my family as an independent and self-sufficient unit. Thanks to the FFS teaching, I am applying the knowledge and skills acquired to the letter, and I am reaping good results,” said Jeffrey.