Contingent valuation of livelihood functions and socio-cultural values of cattle in smallholder farms: a case study Of Kakamega and Siaya Districts, Kenya.
MetadataShow full item record
Cattle production provides both marketable and non-marketable benefits. The potential of cattle to provide such outputs differs by breeds, besides other factors. Emphasis on valuation of marketable outputs of cattle such as milk, while neglecting the non-marketable functions like livelihood functions and socio-cultural values provides incorrect estimates of the costs and benefits of cattle improvement programmes such as crossbreeding. Valuation of the nonmarket functions of cattle is essential in providing justification for conservation of indigenous cattle breeds. This study was set up to determine the economic values of different cattle trait levels and the relative importance of various cattle attributes/traits in livelihood and socio-cultural functions; with particular focus on the use of cattle in insurance, dowry and bullfighting contests. The study used a Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) and a multistage sample of 600 cattle farmers in Kakamega and Siaya districts, Kenya. Data was collected through personal interviews using semi-structured questionnaires and discrete choice experiments. Data analysis was conducted by multiple linear regression, discrete choice Multinomial Logit (MNL) and descriptive statistics. Descriptive results of this study indicated that the zebu cattle breed was preferred over crosses and exotic breeds due to its heat and disease tolerance attributes. Also, 91.3% of the farmers were willing to insure their cattle against diseases, and 71.3% of them felt that the introduction of an effective cattle insurance scheme would be an incentive for them to keep more crosses and exotic breeds and to increase their herd sizes substantially. The farmers' mean Willingness To Pay (WTP) for cattle as insurance was Kshs 344 per year (US$l = Kshs 80). The OLS results showed that the mean WTP for cattle as insurance was higher for male farmers than female farmers, households with higher monthly incomes, high value cattle and households with few rural social networks and poor agro-ecological zones. All the independent variables used in the OLS model were jointly significant in explaining variations in mean WTP. Results of the contingent ranking exercises revealed that the female animal for breeding was the most preferred animal type, while the male animal for bullfighting contests was the least preferred animal type. The discrete choice MNL results indicated that insurance is a significant role of cattle, but its importance does not outweigh that of traction. Also, the relative importance of horn size was higher in male animals for bullfighting contests than for breeding. The relative importance of calving interval in female animals for dowry was not significantly higher than in breeding, while the relative importance of color was higher in male animals for breeding than in dowry. The major conclusions made in this study were that bullfighting contests and dowry payment were important reasons for keeping cattle, even though their importance did not outweigh breeding purposes. Also, for male animals, genetic traits such as horn size were more important in bullfighting contests than in breeding. For female animals, productive traits especially calving interval and milk yield were more important in breeding than in sociocultural uses. In terms of cattle breeds, the traits preferred by farmers in this study suggest that local zebu and crosses of indigenous breeds with exotic breeds were preferred for dowry, bullfighting contests, insurance and breeding purposes. This study recommended conservation of local zebu cattle and other breeds that could serve as insurance. It was also suggested that farmers' awareness levels on the importance of a cattle insurance scheme should be improved. Furthermore, development and implementation of breeding programmes should incorporate farmers' preference of traits for different purposes. Finally, cost-benefit analysis frameworks for crossbreeding programmes should adapt the WTP approach used in this study.