|dc.description.abstract||Pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya have adopted fodder production to address the problem of livestock feed scarcity, as well as to diversify their household incomes from the sale of the produced hay and grass seed. However, there is limited information to guide targeting and prioritization of options for up-scaling fodder production for enhanced pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods. This study was conducted in Kajiado and Makueni Counties of southern Kenya to characterize hay and grass seed value chain, determine profitability of hay and grass seed and efficiency of their marketing channels; and assess factors that determine households’ participation in fodder production. Data was collected through household interviews using semi-structured questionnaire, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Range pasture reseeding was found to be the most common production technology, practiced by 48% of the sampled producers. Analysis of the fodder value chain showed that key players at the production level were individual farmers and social groups who provided own labour for ploughing and sourced for own grass seeds. The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization played key roles throughout the value chain, including provision of startup seeds, training producers on agronomic practices, and linking producers to the markets. Traders were found to dominate fodder markets; they bought grass seeds from the producers at low prices and sold mainly to international organizations. The main buyers of grass seeds in the study areas were United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Red Cross Society of Kenya, which then distributed them to producers as free start-up seeds elsewhere in and outside the country. Hay and grass seed markets were found to be generally informal and unregulated.
The results showed that fodder production has a cost-benefit ratio of 1.73, which implies that it is a profitable venture for the pastoral and agro-pastoral households in the study areas. However,
market performance and efficiency analyses indicated that producers gain relatively less profits from the sale of their produce than traders. This was shown by the producers’ lower share of the consumer prices especially in the marketing channels which offered the highest consumer prices. The results of the binary logit regression indicated that gender, membership to a producer group and access to extension services by the households had significant and positive influence on adoption of fodder production. Households’ membership to a producer group was found to increase the probability of their participation in fodder production by 29%, while access to extension services was found to increase chances of fodder production adoption by 49%.
In view of these results, efforts aimed at enhancing households’ participation in fodder production in the study areas should promote up take of range reseeding technology. This is likely to succeed in promoting participation as pasture reseeding is already preferred by the pastoral and agro-pastoral households in the study areas. Households should be supported to start and/or join existing groups through which extension and training services can be offered to enhance and promote fodder production in the drylands. Improving marketing and profitability of fodder products require structuring and formalization of the markets, as well as making the process of grass seed certification easy and cheap. This will help in facilitating commercialization and access to lucrative markets within and outside the country, thus increasing returns especially to the producers.
Keywords: Drylands of southern Kenya, fodder value chain, Kajiado, Makueni, pastoral and agro-pastoral households, profitability||en_US