Socio-economic factors influencing small ruminant breeding in Kenya.
Bett, R C
Kosgey, I S
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In order to design an effective small ruminant (i.e., goats and sheep) breeding program in Kenya and other areas with similar production circumstances, it is important to understand the socio-economic factors applying to the relevant production system. Information on these was obtained from a questionnaire carried out on both smallholders and pastoral/ extensive farmers in seven selected districts. From the 458 responding households, 18% kept only goats, 34% kept only sheep, and 48% kept both species. Goats were generally ranked lower in popularity. The most represented breeds in the households were the indigenous East African goat and the Red Maasai sheep, and crossbred genotypes of goats and sheep. However, according to the farmers, the pure breeds were more popular than the crossbreeds. The households owned the majority of the used land for small ruminant production. In many cases, male household members were in control of the land. Animals were in most cases owned by the household head only or by both the household head and the spouse. The most important water source for animals was the river with the frequency of watering in the dry season in some cases being as low as once a day. Both males and females made most decisions in smallholder households. Women in the pastoral/ extensive systems participated less significantly in decision making than those in smallholder households, although they were responsible to many animal production related activities. In general, it is important to take into consideration socio-economic factors that influence small ruminant breeding programs to enhance their success.