Not many Kenyans have ever tasted goat milk or its products. This is so and yet there is wholesome goodness in this precious food. It has a higher digestible protein and fat content than cow milk and is beneficial in diets for infants and the sick.
It has been associated with alleviating or controlling various health conditions, including cow milk intolerance.
If you have respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis, dermatological conditions like eczema and other diseases, including diabetes and gout, various studies have established that goat milk is good for you.
Due to the high calcium level in the milk, it is also recommended for people suffering from arthritis.
It is also good for people living with HIV and Aids because its protein molecules are smaller than other proteins and easily absorbed in the body.
This, in turn, strengthens the antibodies. Goat milk also tends to have a buffering quality that makes it useful in the treat ment of ulcers.
There are many types of dairy goat products, but only a limited range are processed in Kenya. This is due to factors such as low processing capacity and low consumption of the high value dairy products in the domestic market.
This milk has had a lukewarm reception in the market.
This is either because many are unfamiliar with it or its products, the poor public image of goat milk and goats, in general, and a lack of public knowledge of, and appreciation of the unique qualities of goat milk.
However, one cannot wholly blame Kenyans for not drinking goat milk or enjoying its numerous products because it may not be readily available.
“Producer prices are reatively high. Therefore, if goat milk is positioned to com pete for a market share in the dairy market, it will need to be traded at competitive prices,” says Ms Christine Mate of Zimmer – and Dairy Products Ltd, a firm dealing in goat milk processing.
There are various ways to enjoy goat milk. You can take it as cheese, fermented milk, yoghurts, dips, ice cream, butter, sorbets, fudges and soaps. Although goat milk is produced on a limited scale in Kenya, interest in it has increased considerably over the last three years.
“More and more farmers and small-stock owners are considering milking goats as a possible farming alternative. The Dairy Goat Association of Kenya together with the various NGOs have played a key role in sensitising farmers about the benefits of rearing dairy goats,” says Ms Mate.
“Due to the small market for processed goat milk products that is largely limited to urban areas, especially in Nairobi, expanding the market is necessary. That is one of our priorities. We plan to carry out regular market research to determine potential demand, support aggressive promotion of dairy goat products through regular awareness campaigns in the media and develop viable market links both local and international,” she adds.