Participatory assessment of livestock marketing in Loima division, Turkana District, Kenya
A participatory study was conducted in Loima Division of Turkana District, Kenya, to assess livestock marketing. It was aimed at generating information that could be used in redesigning or modifying plans for viable livestock marketing interventions in the division. The main objectives were: 1) to assess herders' perceptions on local markets; 2) to assess herders' perceptions of cash income sources; 3) to determine existing livestock marketed off-takes; 4) to assess herders' perceptions of livestock marketing constraints; and 5) to determine herders' predictions of off-take levels ifmarkets were improved. Four livestock camps (adakars) that included Natuba, Kicono, Acemie and Aporon were conveniently selected for the study based on accessibility, security and logistics. Selection of Loima Division as the study area was influenced by the existence of a livestock marketing project that was under Veterinaries Sans Frontieres- Belgium (VSFB). The study involved seventy-two (72) individual informants (herders) stratified on gender and wealth, 16 informant groups of herders stratified on gender (each group had 8-15 people), fifty-nine (59) individual livestock traders (20 in 'lower' primary markets, 14 in 'upper' primary markets and 25 in secondary markets) and eight (8) government livestock workers. Participatory Appraisal (PA) methods used in data collection included seasonal migration maps, matrix scoring, proportional piling, simple ranking, seasonal calendars, semi-structured interviews and workshops. Potential livestock markets in the division were identified as Namoruputh, Lokiriama and Lorengippi, with Namoruputh being proposed as central for establishment of an initial livestock market. The herders classified traders based on tribe and marketing system of operation of which the latter criterion clearly distinguished traders' preference than the former. Traders were preferred based on their pricing of livestock, consistency in buying livestock, trustworthiness, always with cash and friendly negotiations. The auction system and organized marketing system with designated market days (based on personto- person negotiation) were highly preferred as were traders operating in those systems. Preference of a marketing system was based on livestock prices offered, cash availability, attraction of buyers and sellers, and its frequency. The other systems of marketing were traditionalsystem, mobile trader system and the shop system. The two major sources of cash reported were from the sale of livestock and livestock products (68%), and cash remittances from relatives and friends (13%). Commonly sold species of livestock were goats, cattle, camels and donkeys of which goats emerged as the primary source of cash (68%). Within the livestock holdings, sheep and goats (shoats) constituted the largest proportion (60.9%) in the herds, followed by camels (17.9%) and cattle (11.5%), with donkeys being the least (9.7%). Shoats constituted a higher proportion of livestock in the herds among the poor whereas the proportion of large stock was higher among the rich and medium class. Preference for selling different types of stock was based on availability of buyers/market, season, availability in the herd, magnitudeof familyproblem, wealth status and need for cash. Most preferred age-sex categories for sale among goats, cattle and camels were mature male castrates, except for donkeys where breeding males and females were sold. Mature male castrates of goats, cattle, camels and donkeys were mostly sold during the dry season whereas young animals of these species were sold throughout the year. Breeding maleand female donkeys were mostly sold during the dry season. Whereas producers gave high priority to low prices of livestock and traders perceived low working capital as major problems affecting them in livestock marketing, government livestock workers prioritized poor marketing infrastructure and lack of marketing information as major problems that need to be addressed. When marketing improves, herders were willing to sell livestock in proportions (30.4%) equal to that of the current marketing system (30.5%). The proportional change in sales (difference between sales before and after marketing improves) was negative for goats (-7.3%) and positive for other types of livestock. Nonetheless, the proportion of goats (18.1%) to be sold when marketing improves was still higher than that of the other livestock types combined(12.3%). Based on the results of this study, it is concluded that the pastoralists desire to participate more actively in livestock markets but livestock marketing constraints are a hindrance. They should therefore be involved in gathering and analyzing information to be used in planning and designing best-bet interventions in livestock marketing. A further study is recommended, to look at the root cause~ and effects of livestock marketing constraints and analyze the various options for intervention; and to determine factors that would influence pastoralists' desire to sustainably sell more livestock when marketing improves.