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University of Edinburgh (2005)

Socio-economic factors influencing livestock keeping dynamics in a smallholder crop-livestock system in western Kenya

Thuranira, Christine M.

Titre : Socio-economic factors influencing livestock keeping dynamics in a smallholder crop-livestock system in western Kenya

Auteur Thuranira, Christine M.

Université de soutenance : University of Edinburgh

Grade : PhD Doctor of Philosophy 2005

Résumé partiel
This thesis examined the internal and external factors influencing livestock keeping dynamics in a smallholder crop-livestock system in Busia District, western Kenya. The study aimed to gain an understanding ofthe factors that influence household decision-making on the allocation ofhousehold resources and how these impact on the ability to own and successfully look after livestock. Households in the sample were characterised in terms oftheir resources, socio-demographics and livelihood strategies. Livestock keeping dynamics were examined in terms offactors such as herd structures, production parameters, the ways in which households acquired and lost livestock and the characteristics of households entering and leaving livestock keeping. The importance ofseasonality in the production system was also investigated. The study was undertaken in Funyula and Butula Divisions in Busia and was carried out by means ofa two-year longitudinal survey. 175 households were interviewed at intervals of four months during the study. The surveys times were designed to coincide with the three main seasons found in the study area. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were employed in the form ofquestionnaires and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises. Busia has a smallholder crop-livestock production system with most households relying on crops as their main livelihood strategy and livestock being kept as a means ofincome diversification. The crop and livestock enterprises do not show a high level of integration. The livestock enterprise shows very low inputs and outputs with a mean total annual output equivalent to US$ 33.69 per household and a mean total annual input equivalent to US$ 5.27 per household. Milk produced and draught power represented less than 1% oftotal cash outputs. Sales oflive animals comprised the main component of livestock outputs with veterinary drugs and services accounting for the highest proportion (43%) of inputs into the livestock enterprise. The majority of animals entering livestock holdings were born into the holdings and there was only a 3% increase in the number of livestock keeping households over 2 years. Households purchasing animals generally bought the same species as they had sold. This suggests that there are minimal changes occurring in the livestock keeping status quo. This study therefore showed little evidence of the "livestock ladder" (Perry et al., 2002), which holds that there is a hierarchy in livestock keeping that reflects experience and the potential for households to move into different types oflivestock keeping. The proportion ofanimals lost through death ranged from 27% to 33% among the all livestock species and the majority ofthese deaths were disease related. Diseases and a shortage of veterinary services were cited by farmers as the principle constraints to livestock keeping. A quarter ofcattle sales were directly attributed to disease and between 5% and 7% ofcattle and small ruminants were sold because they were "unproductive", a factor that can often be linked to the presence ofdisease. Animal deaths due to disease were estimated to cost individual households Ksh. 2103 (US$ 27.15) annually, approximately 81% ofthe total value oflivestock outputs per household.

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