Factors influencing productivity of dairy goats in Laikipia county: a case of small scale dairy goat farmers in Laikipia East District, Kenya.
Dairy goat farming is emerging as a high-return option for Kenyan small-scale farmers. Although faced in some regions by marketing and distribution challenges, the sector soars in some regions of the country especially the high potential areas of the Kenyan highlands. Dairy goats were introduced in Laikipia district in 20005. The industry is however growing at a very slow late . The potential of the dairy goat is highly unexploited in the district. There is no dairy goat or any formal or informal marketing of the goat milk. There is however a cattle dairy and camel dairy but none has a link with the goat industry. The district has potential market outlets and is endowed with a diversity of different people from different cultures and is a tourist hub. This study sought to establish factors that could be influencing productivity of dairy goats in Laikipia East District. The study examined the management practices, including disease and pest control, breeding and access to markets. The population of study was a proportionate representative sample of dairy goat farmers from the study area. A semi structured questionnaire was used to obtain primary data from the dairy goat farmers through face to face interviews. Interview guide were also used on the district staff. Secondary data was obtained from the Ministry of Livestock Development Annual reports, other District reports, journals, books and other relevant literature reviews. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Frequencies, percentages and mean were used to present the data. Multiple regression analysis was used to test relationship among variables (independent). Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) was used to code, enter and compute the measurements of the multiple regressions for the study so as to test relationship between productivity and the four variables (independent). The data findings analyzed showed that taking all other independent variables at zero, a unit improvement in dairy goat management will lead to a 0.613 improvement in productivity of dairy goats. A unit improvement in breeding programme will lead to a 0.489 increase in productivity of dairy goats; a unit increase in market access will lead to a 0.292 improvement in productivity of dairy goats and a unit improvement in diseases and pests will lead to a 0.325 improvement in on productivity of dairy goats. This infers that dairy goat management contributes more to the productivity of dairy goats followed by breeding programme. Further, these only explained 72.07% of the productivity and recommended further research to investigate the other factors (27.93%). The study will be useful to the policy makers, farmers and other relevant stakeholders.