How smallholder dairy systems in Kenya contribute to food security and poverty alleviation: results of recent collaborative studies
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Muriuki, H.G.; Mwangi, D.M.; Thorpe, W. 2001. How smallholder dairy systems in Kenya contribute to food security and poverty alleviation: results of recent collaborative studies. Paper presented at the 28th Tanzania Society of Animal Production Conference, Morogoro, 7-9 August 2001, 9pp. Nairobi (Kenya): ILRI
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/1725
Kenya has the largest dairy sub-sector in eastern and southern Africa making available annually an estimated 85-90 litres of liquid milk equivalent per capita based primarily upon well-established market-oriented smallholder dairy systems. As a result dairying (the production of milk for the market) has become a very significant source of income and food for an estimated 625,000 smallholder producer households and for those involved in the marketing of milk, in total some 25% of all households. In addition dairying plays a crucial role in sustaining smallholder crop-dairy systems through its contributions to nutrient cycling. It is these smallholder crop-dairy systems, generally based on the cropping of the staple food, maize, that dominate marketed dairy production and that underpin the competitiveness of smallholder dairying in Kenya. In order to better understand Kenya’s dairy sub-sector and to identify constraints to, and opportunities for, improving smallholder dairying’s contribution to poverty alleviation and to increased food security, a series of sequential studies have been carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and the International Livestock Research Institute through the Smallholder Dairy (R&D) Project, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The research has taken a holistic market-oriented production-to-consumption approach with interdisciplinary teams evaluating dairy systems and the interactions of economics, policy, agro-ecology and technology that define their structure. Within the general framework described through an appraisal of the national dairy industry, detailed analyses of the marketing and production systems have identified promising policy, institutional and technological interventions, some of which are being tested. The results of the studies are presented and their implications for poverty alleviation and food security are discussed.