By Kabelo Masoabi
Dairy goats are a popular choice amongst many homesteaders and farmers.
These animals are largely credited for providing nutritious milk, but did you know that their milk can also be used to produce soap?
Mrs. MaretÅ¡epile Kopo, a budding local farmer and Farmerâ€™s Pitso Award winner processes the goat milk to make bathing soap.
The goat farmer from Ha Rasitimela in Maseru is a teacher by profession. She nurtured her love for the animals and founded Bokamoso Dairy Goat Farm and Products company.
Nicknamed “Tona-Kholo ea Lipoli” (translated as the prime minister of goats), Kopo says her organic goat milk soap is a natural, handmade product that is manufactured by mixing fresh goat milk with other ingredients that can be found in the kitchen.
Making goat milk soap, she explains is a simple process, but does require some specific equipment and ingredients.
â€œThe most essential supplies include palm oil, coconut oil, oats, puramio powder, and of course, fresh goat milk.
â€œGoat milk soap is a wonderful way to nourish and cleanse your skin. Not only is it mild and gentle, but it is also packed with beneficial ingredients that can help soothe irritated skin. If you are looking for an excellent alternative to regular soap, goat milk soap is definitely worth a try. Whether you decide to make your own goat milk soap or buy it from us, you can be rest assured that you are getting a quality product that is free of harsh chemicals,â€ she attests.
Kopo defines the product as an excellent alternative to regular soap, as it contains many beneficial ingredients that are not found in commercial soaps. These ingredients include vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, which are beneficial for the skin.
Advocating for the expansion of goat farming of improved breeds, she says because the milk carries a nutritious value, it should be made accessible in all the districts.
She challenged other farmers to consider farming goats, stressing that more women needed to play their role.
â€œMore farmers should engage in the production, especially women, they are â€˜jack of all tradesâ€™ they have special strength needing to be tapped into,â€ she said.
Kopo indicated that many people raise goats mainly for meat, fiber, and skins, but is quick to point out that there is a need for a value chain development whereby various products can be created outside of the norm produce.
She started rearing goats in 2019 after she was influenced by a friend.
From there, she started interacting with experts in the field sharing information on social media with tutors from as far as Kenya. The same instructors also guided her in producing soap from goat milk.
She says caring for dairy goats is relatively easy, but â€œâ€¦it does require a certain level of commitment.â€
She says goats need to be kept in a clean, dry environment and they should also be provided with adequate shelter and protection from climate elements, such as wind, rain, and extreme temperatures.
The â€˜ever-learningâ€™ teacher said she also learned product packaging and branding from various workshops she attended in South Africa that are frequently advertised on social media.
She voices that working with other knowledgeable people makes things much more manageable.
Her future aspirations include having the capacity to diversify goat milk into different products including powdered milk and cheese and her cut-off time to pilot the new venture is October this year.
Kopo currently sells her produce via Facebook and from home although her ultimate goal is to occupy shelves in various supermarkets within the country and to build a farm that will export the products to foreign markets.
â€œI already educate aspiring farmers in goat farming and breeding for attaining quality meat and dairy for business purposes. I also train people to make goat products and to access the markets.â€ She pronounces.
Kopo was announced the Farmersâ€™s Pitso Award 2023 winner in the Dairy Goats category points out that her determination is to spread the goodness of dairy goats and products to promote good nutrition and to create jobs for others, during this time of economic distress.