An economic analysis of adoption potential of a new tsetse fly repellent technology in trypanosomosis control: the case of Kajiado and Narok Districts of Kenya
Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis is one of the greatest impediments to livestock production in Africa. Even though several technologies have been developed over the last century to control both the disease and its vector, none of these technologies works well on its own while some, particularly trypanocidal drugs, are increasingly becoming tolerated by trypanosomes. In this regard, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) recently developed a novel repellent technology whose preliminary field trials showed some great potential to control cattle trypanosomosis in pastoral herds in Kenya. This study reports the findings of an expanded field trial of the repellent technology conducted between 2005 and 2006 in Kajiado and Narok districts of Kenya. The objectives of the study were to (1) characterize the herders' knowledge and practices on tsetse and trypanosomosis control in the study areas, (2) assess the financial benefits of using the repellent technology prototype in the control of cattle trypanosomosis, and (3) assess the herders' attitude towards the repellent technology. One hundred and thirteen herders were interviewed during the study period using semi-structured questionnaires to gather information on tsetse and trypanosomosis control practices and herders' perception of the performance of the repellent technology. Epidemiologic data were also collected in a 12-month researcher-managed trial. These data were used to assess the financial performance of the repellent technology. A number of methods was used to assess the adoption potential of the new repellent technology including descriptive statistics, conjoint analysis, partial budget analysis, matching demand and supply of technology attributes, and analysis of willingness to pay. The study found that the herders in the two study sites perceived animal disease to be the main constraint to livestock production, followed by drought. Among the cattle diseases that were common in the two study areas, the herders considered trypanosomosis to be most important. The study also found that the herders had considerable knowledge of the vectors of trypanosomosis with over 70% of them correctly linking the disease to the tsetse fly. The available tsetse control technologies included tsetse fly traps/targets and insecticides such as Spoton' and Dominex®. However, these insecticides were predominantly used as acaricides rather than as tsetse control technologies. Trypanosomosis was treated with trypanocidal drugs. The assessment of the financial benefits of using the repellent technology in the control of cattle trypanosomosis yielded a loss of KShs 243.6 (or US$3.5) per animal per month. This was attributed to the malfunctioning of the repellent technology during the field trial where only 14.6% ofthe 9,363 repellent collars were recorded to be in a good working condition during the 12-month researcher-managed trial. As such, the repellent technology did not confer the treated cattle with sufficient productivity-enhancing attributes, which led to the observed poor financial performance. However, the results of the socio-economics trial showed that the herders had a positive attitude towards the repellent technology. In particular, 73% of them expressed their intention to purchase the repellent technology when it comes into the market, while 81 % found the technology to be easy to apply.Additionally, the herders were willing to pay at least KShs 106.3 to secure a repellent collar. On the basis of the results of the socio-economics trial, the repellent technology is likely to receive a substantial level of acceptance in the two study sites once it comes into the market. In order to enhance the effectiveness of the repellent technology against trypanosomosis under field conditions, there is need to re-design the repellent dispensers to remove the defects. This could be achieved through further research and development. The involvement of the livestock keepers in all stages of the technology development is advised to ensure that the final product meets their expectations to enhance uptake. The study further recommends that the repellent technology should be priced appropriately to encourage high and sustained uptake as the herders were sensitive to different repellent collar prices. This could be achieved through a cost subsidy in the short run, financed either by government or its development partners. It is expected that once the herders have perceived the benefits of the technology they will be more than willing to pay the full price.