Characterization of smallholder dairy production systems for livestock improvement in Kenya highlands
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Principal components analysis and cluster analysis were used to classify smallholder dairy farms in terms of risk management strategies, level of household resources, dairy intensification and access to services and markets in Kenya highlands. Four clusters of smallholder dairy systems were identified. Cluster 1, 2, 3 and 4 had 11.9%, 11.2%, 35.1% and 41.8% of households respectively. Cluster 1 had majority of farmers (56%) in lower highlands and no farmers in upper midlands. In cluster 2, majority of farmers (40%) were in lower midlands. Cluster 3 had majority of farmers (62%) in upper midlands. In cluster 4, majority of farmers (50%) were in lower highlands. Characterization of smallholder dairy production systems in Kenya highlands is critical in understanding the constraints and opportunities that exist within the farming systems. It allows better targeting of dairy improvement research and development. Therefore, information obtained can be valuable for detailed analysis of constraints and opportunities found in smallholder dairy systems and to design policies and strategies to support smallholder dairy development programs in Kenya highlands under differing intensification one has to be aware of the challenges.