Constraints to use of breeding services in Kenya
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Most Kenyan farmers are in need of services to improve their cattle breeds. The artificial insemination and bull services are the only available options to improve these breeds. A study was conducted to determine constraints associated to the use of breeding services in Kenya. The methods used to collect the data included random survey using questionnaires, focus group discussion and key informant interviews. It was noted that the artificial insemination was the most preferred mode of service when compared to bull service. However bull service was more used than artificial insemination, indicating that farmers do not always use what they preferred. Bull service was preferred mostly because it was cheap while artificial insemination was preferred for offering breed variety. There was a high proportion of cross breed cattle suggesting that Kenyan farmers are inclined towards improving their cattle breeds. Larger land sizes production systems were associated with more use of bull service. Households that had used artificial insemination had more cross breed cattle with more number of cows producing more milk. The main constraints to use of artificial insemination cited were availability of service and its associated costs. However other constraints cited included lack of breed varieties, non-conception leading to repeat services, service provider non- responsiveness, information asymmetries and farmer cash availability. Other external constraints cited were inadequate credit facilities and infrastructure. It emerged from this study that there is need to provide information to farmers to help them in making confident decisions in order to maximise the benefits of a service. In particular it was felt that it is necessary to train farmers on breeding management, especially on monitoring of heat of the cow and consequent planning for the breeding service so as to overcome cash flow constraints. A multifaceted approach to all the constraints could be used in Kenya to improve use of artificial insemination for enhanced breeding service.