Efficiency of resource use in smallholder milk production: the case of Meru central dairy farmers, Kenya
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This study was motivated by the need to find means of increasing milk supply in Kenya in order to meet an expected rise in demand. The study was concerned with the efficiency of resource use in smallholder milk productlon. The maJor objective of the study was to determine whether tnere are possibilities of increasing milk production through re-allocation of the resources used in milk production~ The problems encountered by farmers involved in milk production were also examined. The data used in the study were collected from 60 smallholders who are members of five Dairy Co-operative Societies which are affiliated to the Meru Central Farmers Co-operative Union. A Cobb-Douglas milk production function was fitted using the inputs used in milk production. The results showed that concentratas significantly influenced milk yields. The test for efficiency of resource use revealed that there was inefficiency in the use concentrates. Profit maximization I~equires that the marginal value product of an input be equated to the price. If this condition is fulfilled in the study area with respect to concentrates, the average milk YleLo per animal per year would increase by 73% above the current levels. An important conclusion of the study is that there could be substantial in milk output and consequently gains in farm profits if the amount of concentrates fed to the animals is increased above the cur-r-errt level s. It is recommended that:- (i ) effot'ts be intensified to educate the benefits of inct~eased feeding of concentt'ates to the (i i ) animals, constraints which contribute to the unavailability of concentt'ates when farmers need them be removed, (iii) farmers be educated on how they can the excess animal feeds which is p r-ociuc ed the wet season to feed the animals during the (iv) be and educated on how best season, they can utilize the farm by-products while ~hey are of high nutrition value to feed the animals.