An analysis of factors affecting choice of disease Control strategies among smallholder dairy farmers In murang' a south district, kenya
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This study evaluated the factors influencing the choice of disease control strategies and constraints to optimal dairy health management practices in smallholder dairy production system. The disease control strategies considered were vaccination and tick control with use of vaccines and acaricides technologies respectively incorporated to provide the basis for analysis. The study was conducted among 220 smallholder dairy farmers in Kigumo and Maragua divisions of Murang'a South district. The two divisions (Maragua and Kigumo) were purposively selected to represent Lower Highland 1 and Upper Midland 2 and 3 agro ecological zones respectively. The farmers were randomly selected from two sub locations in each division. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered through individual interview to the household heads. Descriptive statistics was used to identify the constraints to optimal dairy health management practices, socio-economic characteristics of the households and farmers perceptions towards disease control methods. The results indicated that cost of veterinary inputs and services were the major constraints to optimal animal health management practices. The study also showed that farmers were aware about the importance of disease control strategies which include tick control and vaccination for improved livestock productivity. VI Logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate factors influencing choice of disease control strategies. The results showed that total livestock units, access to livestock extension, ownership of television and agro-ecological zone had significant influence in likelihood of choice of vaccines. With the choice of acaricides age, education in years, agro-ecological zones, off-farm income, sale of milk, visit or access to an agro-vet shop and feeding system were significant. The study revealed that livestock health management choices are highly influenced by agro-ecological zones. It is therefore important that this variable is taken in consideration while formulating policies and technical interventions for disease control. In addition, there is need for relevant stakeholders to strengthen livestock extension services so as to enhance adoption of disease control technologies.