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University of Nairobi (2012)

Choice of Dairy Cattle traits, breeds and inbreeding on smallholdings in Kirinyaga, Rachuonyo and Nakuru Districts, Kenya

Anunda, Francis Okoyo

Titre : Choice of Dairy Cattle traits, breeds and inbreeding on smallholdings in Kirinyaga, Rachuonyo and Nakuru Districts, Kenya

Auteur : Anunda, Francis Okoyo

Université de soutenance : University of Nairobi

Grade : Master of Science (MSc) 2012

This study was conducted in three ecologically distint districts in Kenya with contrasting socio-economic conditions namely, Kirinyaga, Nakuru and Rachuonyo. Specific objectives of the study were : first, to identify smallholder dairy cattle farmers’ trait preferences under various production systems ; second, evaluate smallholder dairy farmers’ choice for cattle breeds under different production environments ; and three, assess the predisposing factors ; incidences and levels of inbreeding on smallholder dairy farms. Data were obtained through survey and Geographic Information System (GIS) layers from a random sample of 301 households. Data on farmers’ trait and breed preferences were collected using scores and the matrix rating technique, respectively. The Friedman non parametric analysis of variance and the. Wilcoxon non parametric matched-pair signed-rank tests were used to determine whether the preferences for the traits differ across the production systems. The ordered logit model was used to examine the effect of the interactions between the breeds and the socio-economic and ecological factors on the 4 dependent measures of breed choice (i.e., the farmers’ breed rankings). Individual animal pedigree observations, that included name of the animal, unique identity, breed, sex, and date of birth, were obtained from cattle owners by adapting the Herder Recall and Progeny History methods, based on farmer knowledge, and were used to assess the incidences and levels of inbreeding. High milk yield, high growth rate, big body size, high fertility and high disease resistance traits were ranked highly across all the production systems. Farmers who practice free-range grazing (mostly producers of grade, zebu and zebu crossbreds) and semi-intensive systems (mostly keepers of the zebus and their crossbreds), ranked high milk yield first and high butterfat percentage second. The semi-intensive farmers (keepers of the zebu and its crossbreds) and the free-range fanners (mostly zebu cattle owners) ranked big body size and traction ability second to milk yield. Furthermore, high disease resistance was ranked second by semi-intensive farmers (keepers of mostly grade cattle and mostly zebu and crossbreds). Additionally, high growth rate, low feed intake and drought tolerance were highly rated by free-range producers (mostly Friesian and Ayrshire keepers) and the semi-intensive fanners (mostly zebu and crossbred owners). The zero-grazing and the semi-intensive farmers ranked high fertility second to high milk yield. It was shown from the results that when the socio-economic and ecological factors (i.e., distances to markets-for inputs and products, feeding system, farming experience, education level of the farmer, availability of extension services, and PPE - i.e., Annual Precipitation over Potential Evapo-transpiration) are not considered, the farmers would most probably prefer/choose Friesian for high milk yield, big body size, and high growth rate followed by the crossbreds and then the Ayrshire.


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