Engendered Analysis of the Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Smallholder Dairy Productivity: Experience from Kenya
Cheng'ole, J M
Kimenye, L N
Mbogo, S G
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The existing gap between potential and actual milk yield in Kenyan dairy farming and the need to bridge it led to the formulation of this study. The objective was to determine the socioeconomic factors including the gender variable affecting smallholder dairy productivity. The aim of incorporating gender was to capture in detail the factors peculiar to male and female smallholder dairy farmers. A sample of three hundred smallholder dairy farmers was interviewed in the Embu district of Kenya. Smallholder farm households were first categorized as male-headed and female-headed. Within these categories, dairy enterprises were further classified as male-managed, female-managed and jointly managed, depending on who was involved in the day-to-day management of the dairy activity. A multi-regression analysis was estimated using the Cobb-Douglas function to determine the relative importance of the socioeconomic factors in influencing dairy productivity in each gender category. A simulation analysis to determine which farmers would post more dairy productivity given similar resources was done. The results showed that though most households were male-headed, dairy enterprises were heavily female-managed. Male-headed households registered significantly (p = 0.012) higher mean dairy productivity than female-headed households. Simulation results showed that female-headed households would register higher dairy productivity than the male-headed households given similar resources. Overall, economic factors represented by commercialization index, monthly income and monthly expenses on livestock feeds seem to be the major determinants of dairy productivity of smallholder farmers, followed by months since last calving and the education level of the farmers. Specifically, the availability of a reliable market for raw milk (approximated by commercialization index) and access to commercial dairy feeds positively influenced dairy productivity in all gender categories of farm households and dairy enterprises. The monthly household income positively influenced dairy productivity in male and female-headed farm households, whereas access to commercial dairy meals was an important determinant of productivity in male-managed, female-managed and jointly managed dairy enterprises. The variations in dairy performance based on the gender of the farmer calls for the incorporation of gender as a variable in all efforts being made to raise dairy productivity. Mechanisms to ensure female farmers' access to dairy production resources could work to raise overall dairy productivity. The findings also suggest that improvement in the marketing systems for raw milk, particularly in terms of availability of a reliable milk outlet, would significantly enhance dairy productivity of both male and female smallholder farmers. Similarly, establishing of mechanisms through which farmers could access quality dairy feeds or alternative feeds could enhance dairy productivity.