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Wageningen University (2011)

Investigating the economic potential of pastoralism : the case of Maasai pastoral beef chain in Kajiado district Kenya

Ngochembo, G.G.

Titre : Investigating the economic potential of pastoralism : the case of Maasai pastoral beef chain in Kajiado district Kenya

Auteur : Ngochembo, G.G.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2011

Résumé partiel
This research investigated the economic viability of pastoral cattle producers in the Rift Valley Province Kajiado District of Kenya, with the aim to make recommendation for possible improvement strategies and contribute to the debate about pastoralism at KIT. The main research problem was low productivity of Maasai pastoral cattle in which, over 75% of the herd size usually has low body weight at point of sales. Low body weight of cattle in the region is attributed to poor management, insufficient feeding and deficient water supply, consequently pastoralists are offered low price per animal. Therefore, survey questionnaires were administered to 45 pastoral producers as the primary method to gather data. A case study was also implemented with three pastoralists to gather more in-depth information as well as in-depth interview with 15 other stakeholders amongst which were, traders, butchers, transporters, restaurants and services providers. From the findings, it can be argued that cattle production in Kajiado is one of the main economic activities in the region, and pastoral producers have not only been able to transformed ways in which production is conducted, through migration in search for water and forage but also to mitigate production risks irrespective of age. It was also observed that, pastoral producers have become resilient to climate change based on their flexible and opportunistic life style. Some have succeeded in diversifying along the beef chain by taking on trading and butchering function, that in the past many have had to abandon cattle production. Diversifications was observed to be possible as a result of embedded trust pastoralists have in their social networks and relationships, which had help them to reinforced the adoption of risk-minimizing strategies such as sharing/swapping of production resources, donations of cattle to poorer members of the family and search for more profit activities around livestock production. It can be conclude that, pastoralists are able to deal with some major production challenges with their own efforts. Even though pastoralist might be able to deal with effects of climate change locally as observed, pastoral systems of production will never be the same again. This is based on current Kenyan policy on land tenure, sales of land by some pastoralists and the increasing population that is resulting in urbanization. Therefore, pastoral producers might soon completely shift from a life style and production system characterised by extensive seasonal movement and intensive short-duration grazing of successive areas, entangled with crops cultivation in some cases, to a system that is based on intensive, long-term grazing of private parcels where households have ostensibly fewer options for mobility. Though the pastoral production system appeared to be changing, it was seen that cattle production is an economically viable venture. Irrespective of the fragmented nature of the beef chain, insufficient information flow and low on average price offer to pastoral producers, extra income can still be generated from sale of at least 4 cattle per year, when interest on land and opportunity cost for family labour income is not calculated. It can further be concluded that pastoral producers can indeed generate more income with the least improvement in management and development of the beef chain.

Mots clés : pastoralism / livestock farming / beef production / supply chain management / economic viability / cattle farming / kenya

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Page publiée le 13 février 2015, mise à jour le 17 octobre 2018