Turning family heritage into a profitable agribusiness

The ranch is more than 13 years old. What started as a family tradition is now on the road to high returns. Maparasha Company Limited was started in 2001 and sits on a total of 900 acres of land. It initially started out as a beef ranch and has always been until two years back when Helen Nkaisserry started a dairy line.

 

Unlike other farms where the cows are zero grazed, Helen lets her herd roam free within the expansive areas. The company comprises of four main  ranches, which have been fenced and paddocked.  One of the ranches acts as a breeding place for the beef cattle. With re are 2 bulls and 90 cows with calves, roaming freely over an area of 300 acres. The other ranches are utilised for weaners and fattening before selling into the market.  The dairy line which started in 2012 with four freshians currently stands at 12.

 

Helen has planted hay for the dairy cows to supplement the grazing. The company is able to get 130 litres of milk per day from both the dairy and, beef cows-Borans and Sahiwals. It is from the surplus milk that she initiated a project with the community women to consolidate their milk to the collection point for sale. As the pioneer, the Maasai Kajiado Women Dairy Cooperative Society was born and currently has 5000 women.

 

“I thought that it was important for everyone around me to progress, so I brought the women together and we have a ready market for the milk,” says Helen. The group collects 5,500 litres of milk daily, reaching peak volumes of 30,000 litres per day. For the steers, she tries to maintain to a herd of 400 cows for quality control and also to grow the young ones. An abattoir which is about a kilometre away helps to offload the steers. This has greatly reduced transport costs.

 

She notes that a lot of input is required to get value from her farm. Apart from beef ranching, she has also ventured into agriculture now that she has a borehole inside the farm. Being a semi-arid area she has plans to improve the sustainability of production in the farm through heavy investment greatly reducing the impact of the dry season Helen currently grows maize, beans and looks to soon practice agriculture on a large scale in the future.

 

Helen admits that being a member of AAA has helped her greatly in transforming her farm into a profitable business. Through the interactions, she has been able to learn new techniques and available options of funding.She hopes to show leadership by being the preferred beef and dairy unit through partnerships and have it throughout the year.