Socio-economic analysis of farmer preferences of fodder legumes attributes and information flow among smallholder dairy farmers in Central Kenya: A case study of Calliandra and Desmodium.
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Sinja, J. 2007. Socio-economic analysis of farmer preferences of fodder legumes attributes and information flow among smallholder dairy farmers in Central Kenya: A case study of Calliandra and Desmodium. MSc thesis, University of Nairobi.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/1569
It has been recognized that livestock production can contribute to sustainable livelihoods in the rural areas through increased food and nutritional security and incomes especially for the rural poor in the less developed countries. Low quantities and poor quality basal diet, and lack of high quality protein feeds have been identified as the major constraint to improved milk production in sub-Saharan Africa. In Kenya the problem is compounded by high cost of commercial feeds that are beyond the reach of the smallholder milk producers, resulting in farmers producing only 50% of the potential annual milk production of 4 billion litres. There have been several attempts to introduce fodder legumes in livestock production systems without success in most regions. In Kenya efforts to introduce fodder legumes started more than 2 decades ago but still a very small percentage of farmers have adopted this technology. Previous studies on adoption of these fodders have not embraced the more client-oriented approaches such as farming systems and farmer-participatory research. Much of their research has been driven by a macro-level, constraint oriented analysis that assumes a set of objectives that is not necessarily shared by any livestock producers. This study used participatory methodologies to elicit farmer preferences of fodder legumes attributes. The study area consisted of Maragua, Kirinyaga, Embu and Nyeri districts of Kenya. The sample used consisted of 130 farmers who were randomly selected from the groups that had been given Calliandra by System-wide Livestock (SLP) project at the international Centre for Research in Agro Forestry (ICRAF) and Desmodium by Smallholder Dairy Project (SDP) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Data was collected using a conjoint analysis survey instrument and a structured questionnaire. This data set of households was used to evaluate fodder legume attributes by use of an ordered probit model. The consumer theory was the underpinning of the model used. A tobit model was used to analyse factors influencing sharing out of the legume technology from the original farmers to others outside their group. Ordered probit results showed that farmers valued most fodders legumes that had high dry season tolerance and high economy on land. Tobit results showed that sharing out of fodder legumes technology from original farmers to other farmers was strongly influenced by farmer being an official in a farmer group or having a community responsibility. Lastly sharing of the technology was influenced by the characteristics of the individual fodder legume. Recommendations given from this study were that fodders legumes to be introduced in the study area should be dry season resistant and have high economy on land. It was also recommended that farmers who have positions in farmer groups and those with community responsibility be supported in various feasible ways like training to increase spread of the technology. Lastly, it was concluded that specific constraints to spread of the technology be addressed for individual or particular fodders legumes since it was shown in the study that plant characteristics influenced its spread.