Socio-economic analysis of dairy feed technologies promoted in the Kenyan highlands

The cost of feed is one of the major constraints to dairy cattle production in sub-Saharan Africa. East Africa dairy development project is promoting several feed technologies for dairy cattle in order to reduce costs and increase milk production and profits. Research was conducted to identify factors that affect farmers’ uptake of feed technologies, cost of feed and factors driving dairy milk yield through improved technologies and practices. There has however been no studies related to cost benefit analysis of dairy cattle feed or a measure of efficiency of dairy feed technologies in Kenyan highlands. In East Africa and the sub-Saharan region at large, research on cost benefit analysis and profitability of promoted feed technologies are not prioritized. Therefore, farmers fail to make informed decisions in fodder production due to lack of knowledge and evidence resulting in low milk production. The study was carried out in the Kenyan highlands. The counties sampled fall under three agro ecological zones namely Upper Midlands, Upper Highlands and Lower Highlands. Three stage sampling technique was used to select farmers. The data was collected from East Africa Dairy Development supported farmers using a structured questionnaire and GPS coordinates collected for each site for spatial analysis. The farm specific profit inefficiency across the agro ecological zones was estimated using a stochastic profit frontier model and one-way analysis of variance respectively. Famers in the lower highlands had comparative advantage of growing Napier and input costs as opposed to those in the upper highlands and upper midlands respectively. The mean level of inefficiency at farm level was 34% with variance of 5%. All the hypothesized socio economic factors that related to inefficiency were significant. The land size and gender were found to negatively influence profitability. Agro Ecological Zone, experience, scale of farming and occupation of farmers had a positive influence on profitability. Therefore in order to reduce inefficiency and increase profitability, reduction in cost of labor is critical. Since Napier had comparative advantage, farmers in the lower highlands would benefit more in adopting the fodder. Farmers in upper midlands are better off adopting fodder trees. Labor efficiencies can be achieved through use of improved mechanization or batch planting in order to reduce costs.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
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Prof. Muendo Mutuku Kavoi (JKUAT,Kenya) and Dr. Baltenweck, Isabelle (ILRI), Kenya
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