Adoption and profitability of smallholder dairy Goat production in Kenya: the case of Meru south and Meru central districts
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Goats play an important role in the life of smallholder farmers. Improving production of goats by increasing the efficiency of goat milk production through crossbreeding local goats with exotic breeds would result in higher incomes and increase the availability of animal protein. Although, the dairy goat technology has been promoted in the central Kenyan highlands by a number of development agencies for more than a decade, very little documentation has been done on the uptake of the technology, factors influencing adoption and its profitability. This study attempted to fill this information gap by estimating the determinants of dairy goat adoption and determining the profitability of the enterprise among adopting farmers, using Meru South and Meru Central districts in Kenya as case studies. A household survey was conducted among 260 randomly sampled smallholder farmers and an econometric probit model used to identify and explain the influence of various factors on the probability of adoption. Gross margin analysis was used to estimate the profitability of the enterprise. Results showed that 46% of the sampled farmers had adopted, 47% had not adopted while 7% had adopted and abandoned the dairy goat technology. Majority of the adopters (83%) kept cross-bred dairy goats while 17% kept pure breeds. Results further revealed that the dairy goat technology is likely to be adopted by households characterized by high dependency ratio. Farmers with experience in rearing local goats and growing indigenous fodder are also likely to adopt the technology, implying that its technological attributes are compatible with local livelihoods. Analyses also reveal that dairy goat production is a profitable enterprise and has potential to contribute to farm incomes. The study derives important policy implications for enhanced dairy goat technology uptake and production in the Kenyan highlands.