Factors influencing milk production among small scale dairy farmers in Mirangine in Nyandarua county and Mauche in Nakuru county, Kenya
Dairy farming remains the economic backbone of livestock farmers in high potential areas like Mirangine and Mauche. However, in such areas, milk production has been quite low. This is an indication that there are constraints which results in low milk production. For potential milk yields to be realized, all production constraints and their individual effects on milk production must be identified. The purpose of this study was to comparatively analyze the factors influencing milk production in Mirangine division in Nyandarua County and Mauche division in Nakuru County through a qualitative analysis of milk production, and the performance of the dairy enterprises at the farm level. The specific objectives of the study were: 1.To identify the how marketing factors influence milk production in Mirangine and Mauche division among small scale dairy farmers; 2. To establish how farmers awareness on dairy farming affects milk production in Mirangine and Mauche division; 3. To identify how demographic characteristic of smallscale dairy farmers influence milk production in Mirangine and Mauche division; 4. To establish how cattle breeds variability affects milk production in Mirangine and Mauche division. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 352 small scale farms in Mirangine and Mauche regions of Kenya and key informants were also interviewed. With the use of SPSS version 20, data from the survey was analyzed and presented using descriptive statistics. The results from the study showed that there is a difference between average productions of the two regions with farmers in Mirangine producing more than farmers in Mauche. Majority of farmers from Mauche sold their milk locally to shops and hotels while majority of farmers from Mirangine sold their milk to middlemen. More than half of the farmers in Mauche do not receive training on dairy farming while majority of farmers in Mirangine receive training on dairy production with the government and the private sector providing most of the training. Majority of farmers in Mauche had most of their cattle in the foundation of breeding while their counterparts in Mirangine had most of their cattle at the appendix stage. This study recommends that the government should: promote commercial dairy farming, and more so promote the stocking of quality dairy breeds through easily accessible financial arrangements; strive to help the farmers improve their breeds by registering them and offering semen through the government veterinary doctors and extension officers.