Developmental Challenges And Opportunities In The Goat Industry: The Kenyan Experience.
Okeyo, A M
Ahuya, C O
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Dairy goat development in Kenya started in the mid 1950s, with the introduction of exotic dairy goat breeds. Major projects to improve the dairy goat sector were not realized until the late 1970s under United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) funded and FAO executed projects, which lasted until the mid 1980s. The initial projects were mainly government station-based, and aimed at multiplying improved stock for distribution to farmers. Due to several technical, logistical and financial constraints the station-based projects failed to meet their objectives, and by 1996, despite huge financial investments in this endeavour, only a total of approximately 40,000 improved goats were available in Kenya. The farmers were not directly involved and genotype-by-environment interaction issues were not duly taken into account in designing and executing the projects. In early to mid 1990s, the German Development Corporation (GTZ) and FARM Africa initiated new approaches that were community-based and farmer-led in two regions of Kenya. Genetic improvement activities were now based on-farm, as opposed to government stations. Farmers and farmer-group members were rigorously trained on breeding programme designs and management, husbandry, including primary healthcare and were facilitated to run their show with frontline technical support from the NGO's and government officers. In just 7 years, the dairy goat population has risen to more than 90,000 head, hence doubled over the 7-year period. In addition, the improved goat technology is alive with many NGOs replicating the new approach. The community participation in the crucial areas of service provision, animal health delivery, marketing and quality control has strongly influenced this development. The challenges, successes and other experiences of these two Kenyan projects are presented and illustrated by way of a case study as to how simple participatory approaches can actually lead to significant improvement in the livelihoods of the rural resource poor families.