Table Of Contents

BACKGROUND AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The agricultural sector and related manufacturing in Kenya is estimated to contribute over one-third of GDP and is the most important sector of the economy, generating about 56 per cent of export earnings (CBS, 2001). Livestock contribute approximately 30 per cent and 10 per cent of agricultural GDP and overall GDP, respectively1. Traditional pastoralism and agro-pastoralism with the Small East African zebu (EAZ) cattle, sheep, goats and camels in the low-rainfall semi-arid and arid parts of the country have remained largely unchanged over the years. However, since the 1960s, significant changes in production have occurred in the more arable and high altitude parts of the country with a major shift towards smaller holdings and marketed milk production using cattle with imported dairy genes in mixed, crop-livestock systems. The production system in these areas includes mainly dairy cattle, other livestock (mostly poultry, sheep and goats), cash crops (e.g., coffee, tea, horticulture) and subsistence crops (e.g., maize, vegetables).

The rapid and widespread adoption of cattle with exotic Bos taurus dairy genes for marketed milk production has been a striking feature of the history of livestock development in Kenya. Conelly (1998) and Omore et al. (1999) have documented that market-oriented dairying started almost a century ago when European settlers introduced dairy cattle breeds from their native countries. Most of these settlers occupied the most agriculturally productive areas in central parts of Rift Valley and Central Provinces. Crossbred cattle dairy production by Africans started after 1954 when a colonial policy paper, the Swynnerton Plan of 1954, allowed them to engage in commercial agriculture. By 1963, when Kenya attained independence, the dairy herd had expanded to about 400,000 exotic (Bos taurus) animals and their crosses with the local EAZ.

After 1963, many foreign settlers opted to leave the country sold their farms indigenous Kenyans or to the government. Many of these farms were rapidly sold to African smallholders resulting in a decline of dairy cattle population in large-scale farms to 250,000 heads by 1965 and a rapidly expanding smallholder herd. To encourage dairying, the government embarked on an aggressive programme to stimulate production and support marketing services. These included heavily subsidised and efficient clinical services, daily runs to provide artificial insemination services and restructuring the operations of the main formal output market – the Kenya Co-operative Creameries (KCC) - to serve more farmers including the removal of quotas that stipulated minimum milk deliveries that favoured large-scale producers. These efforts significantly contributed to the rapid growth of the smallholder dairy herd until the early eighties when inadequate government budget allocations caused the quality of services to decline (Omore et al, 1999). The smallholder dairy herd is currently estimated to be at least 2,500,000 heads in over 600,000 smallholdings typically of 1-2 cows. Another estimated 500,000 dairy cattle are kept in larger holdings of more than 20 cows.

The relative success of introducing improved dairy genes into Kenya, in comparison to other countries in the region, is illustrated by the fact that the number constitutes about 70 per cent of all crossbred and high-grade dairy cattle in eastern and southern Africa. A major contributing factor to these production responses is strong local demand for milk and effective market mechanisms, which link smallholder producers to local and distant markets (Staal et al., 1999). This is emphasised by the fact that per capita milk availability in Kenya, estimated at between 80-100 liquid milk equivalent/person/year, is four to seven times higher than the other countries in the region.

The major policy change after the end of the colonial era was the liberalisation of milk marketing in 1992 (Dairy Development Policy, 1993), which effectively ended KCC's monopoly in milk marketing in urban areas and stimulated increased, small-scale trading in fresh milk (Owango et al., 1998). Its major impact has been a rapid growth of the formal and informal private sector who provide input and output services, and a redistribution and increase of the overall social and economic benefits of market-oriented dairying to smallholder producers, market agents and consumers in Kenya. Changes in the legal framework to support the stated policy revisions have however lagged behind the policy statements. Price controls on animal feeds and beef were deregulated earlier in 1987 and 1989, respectively.

CURRENT STATISTICS

Livestock

The official estimates of ruminant livestock and camel populations have remained the same for over a decade2 (Figure 1). In addition to the 3 million dairy cattle mentioned earlier, other livestock populations are estimated at around 10 million EAZ, 10 million goats, 7 million sheep and 850,000 camels (FAOSTATs).

Figure 1

Population of major livestock species from 1990-2000. Source: MoARD (1990-2000) Annual Reports

Over 80 per cent of the value of livestock production is from ruminants and mainly comprises meat and milk (CBS 2001). The rest comprises poultry meat and eggs, pig, camel meat and milk, honey and rabbits in that declining order of importance. Annual ruminant milk and meat production (marketed and non-marketed) is of almost the same value3 (Peeler and Omore, 1997). Most ruminant meat (approx. 75 per cent) comes from small-scale agro-pastoral, large-scale pastoral systems and, to a lesser extent, male animals and female culls from the small-scale dairy production system (Table 1). The estimated total liveweight (LWT) offtake of 616,000 MT is equivalent to 370,000 MT carcass offtake.4 Meat produced from pigs and poultry is much lower, estimated by the Ministry of agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD)5 at only 7 MT and 20 MT, respectively, (MOARD, 1999). Most pig and poultry meat supply in urban areas comes from “industrial systems” with one major player for pigs and for poultry.

The total annual milk production from all systems is estimated at 3,098 million litres (Table 1). Omore et al. (1999) document that though the dairy herd accounts for only 23 per cent of the cattle population, it contributes approximately 80 per cent of the total production equivalent to about 2.5 million MT. The skewed potential in land productivity is emphasised by the fact that about 60 per cent (approximately 1,900 MT) of the milk produced comes from less than 10 per cent of the country's landmass in the fertile central districts of the Rift-Valley and Central Provinces where 80 per cent of exotic and cross-bred dairy cattle, mostly kept by smallholders, are found. Cattle with exotic dairy genes in smallholder farms dominate marketed milk production, contributing approximately 70 per cent of marketed milk. Milk production from indigenous goats and a few dairy goats in the country contribute an insignificant proportion (<1 per cent).

Table 1

Ruminant livestocka numbers, production and availability per capita

Province/Region

Indigenous cattle

Dairy cattle

Small Ruminants

Milk Prod.

Milk/ Capita

Meat Prod.

Meat/Capita

 

Pop (‘000)

%

Pop (‘000)

%

Pop. (‘000)

%

('000 MT)

Kg

LWT (‘000 MT)

LWT Kg

Central

78

<1

810

27

690

4

699

165

53

14

Coast

1,074

11

45

1

1,308

8

100

40

47

20

Eastern

1,498

15

273

9

3,010

17

325

63

84

18

North Eastern

809

8

<1

<1

1,268

7

47

93

33

71

Nyanza

2,089

21

149

5

1,612

9

230

48

97

22

Rift Valley-Centralb

922

9

1,381

45

1,548

9

1,232

281

121

28

Rift Valley-Northb

704

7

110

4

3,268

19

127

116

50

45

Rift Valley-Southb

1,732

18

165

5

4,442

25

212

255

91

110

Western

925

10

102

3

328

2

126

36

41

13

Total

9,831

100

3,045

100

17,474

100

3,098

106c

616

22.7c

aSource: MALDM (1993) and Peeler and Omore (1997). Figures exclude production from camels, which is significant in parts of Eastern and North Eastern provinces.

b Rift Valley Province is divided into three regions reflecting the diversity of ACZ in the province

cThe overall per capita takes into consideration the population of Nairobi

A recent survey of over 1400 households in eight districts in central Kenya where dairying is predominant revealed that 73 per cent of all agricultural households owned dairy cattle in mixed crop-livestock systems (Staal et al., 2001). The average herd size was four cattle comprising 1-2 cows and followers. Of the other ruminant livestock, the main species were, local goats and sheep kept by 37 per cent and 36 per cent of households, respectively. Donkeys were kept by 16 per cent of households. All these other livestock were kept in few numbers, generally less than 10 per household. The interactions and complementarities between crop and livestock enterprises improve farm efficiency through nutrient cycling. Farmers often cite dairying as the most important source of income and cash flow. Optimisation of gross margins under the current production scenario in the mixed crop-livestock systems suggests that most resources should be allocated to the dairy enterprise to increase efficiency if farmers had more operating capital at observed prices and available resources (Omore et al., 1997). A more rigorous comparison of enterprises would however need to consider the full extent of factors that smallholders consider in their decision-making regarding which enterprises to engage in which were not incorporated in the analysis. These include: seasonality in labour availability, market access, the potential of the land resource and un-quantifiable synergy between farm enterprises. Farmers also tend to be risk averse and may opt to keep down cash expenditures, regardless of potential returns, even if more capital were available.

Whereas the growth of the dairy herd and adoption by smallholders increased by over 5 per cent annually between the early 60’s to the late 80’s, the rate of growth has since slowed. A joint spatial and temporal analysis of dairy farming uptake showed that the rate of adoption of dairying by smallholders slowed significantly after 1992, attributed to decline in AI and veterinary services as privatisation policies came into effect (Baltenweck et al., 1998; Morton et al., 1999).

Various studies show that over 75 per cent of agricultural households keep poultry; nearly all of which are chickens (Okuthe 1999; Okitoi et al., 2000; Staal et al., 2001). Some turkeys are reared commercially and some ducks and quail are also kept, but in quite small numbers. The majority (over 85 per cent) of households with indigenous chickens keep less than 20 birds while in commercial systems the average flock size is between 100 and 1000 birds (Gitao, 1995; Okitoi et al., 2000). The national poultry population seems to have stabilised over the last four years at between 27-29 million birds. The MALDM estimated in 1996 that, of these, most (76 per cent) were indigenous birds, 13 per cent were broilers and 10 per cent were layers. Estimates of the proportions of indigenous chickens, broilers and layers for each province are given in Table 2.

Table 2

Numbers of poultry by province and production system (‘000)

Province

Indigenous

Broilers

Layers

All poultry

Nairobi

87

2,261

118

2,466

Central

1,286

1,273

1,526

4,085

Rift Valley

4,425

11

113

4,550

Eastern

3,357

23

250

3,630

Nyanza

6,562

53

303

6,918

Western

3,117

42

91

3,250

Coast

3,008

137

352

3,497

Total

21,800

3,800

2,750

28,350

Source: MALDM (1996).

Indigenous chicken production is often referred to as “backyard” systems while broiler and layer production are described as commercial systems. It is clear from Table 2 that commercial systems are concentrated in peri-urban areas as practically all the broilers (93 per cent) and over half the layers are located in Nairobi and Central Provinces where population density is quite high. A substantial number of layers and broilers are also raised in Nyanza Province mainly near Kisumu and in Coast Province near the second main city of Mombasa.

FEED RESOURCES

Ruminant production in the rangelands is wholly dependent on natural grasslands, where extreme weather conditions such as of droughts have serious adverse effects on feed resources and production. Ndikumana et al., (2000) have recently reported the impacts of drought and the coping mechanisms employed by pastoralists. They report mortality rates rising to over 50 per cent in extreme droughts. Though rainy weather is beneficial to forage production, the potential benefits of abundant feed is often reduced by high morbidity and mortality rates from vector-borne diseases.

Ruminant feeding strategies in the mixed, crop-livestock systems in the arable areas in the central highlands of Kenya are more complex. Their diversity and spatial and temporal changes in the last decade have been well described by Baltenweck et al., (1998) and Staal et al., (1998; 2001). They report increasing intensification of farming and feeding practices with an increasing proportion stall-feeding their cattle and depending on purchased feeds, especially those close to major urban areas. For example, nearly three-quarters of farmers stall-feed their cattle in Kiambu District in peri-urban Nairobi.

The main source of ruminant feed in these peri-urban areas is planted or purchased fodder involving mostly Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and crop residues, especially from maize and bananas, as well as weeds. Planted fodder obtained from the household’s own land or from public land, including roadsides form an important contribution to the basal diet. Purchases of Napier grass, maize stover and roadside grass are common, and a complex market has developed to supply these. As distance from major urban areas in the highlands increase and population density decreases, there is more reliance on free grazing of natural fodder. Over the decade between 1988 and 1998, the relative use of different feeds changed: the proportion of farmers that used napier, maize stover, mineral salts, weeds and other crop residues went up while those that used concentrates and roadside grasses dropped (Figure 2).

It is probable that the proportion of farmers using concentrates has gone down due to the rising costs relative to the prices paid out for milk, especially in low market access areas. Neither are concentrates fed at recommended levels. Many farmers say they use it only to relax the cows when milking and not really for increased milk production (Staal et al., 1998; 2001). In Kiambu District in peri-urban Nairobi where concentrate use is highest, about 70 per cent of farmers report using commercial concentrates or agro-industrial by-products, typically fed at a flat rate of 2kg/cow/day throughout lactation (Omore et al., 1996b; Staal et al., 1998; 2001).

In general, the level of feed resource availability limits individual animal performance to grow and produce, and the effects of which are reflected in low mature weights mostly below 350kg and lactation curves that follow a logarithmic (collapsing) rather than the classical gamma function curve that characterises milk production in temperate countries (Omore, 1997; Staal and Omore 1998; Tanner et al., 1998). This implies that most farmers fail to realise the full milk production potential in early lactation. In an effort to address this constraint, recent experiments have shown that there can be substantial gains if farmers reallocate the concentrates fed at a flat rate throughout the extended lactation to the first three months following parturition (Kaitho et al., 2001).

Under nutrition is mainly due to seasonality in the quantity and quality of available feed resources. Increasing land sub-division, under-usage of inorganic fertilisers and the rapid nutrient depletion in most tropical soils aggravate this shortage. Strategies employed to alleviate the limited feed supply include the feeding of crop by-products, use of green maize both as food and feed (through thinning), fodder cultivation on roadsides, reliance on fodder markets and purchase of concentrates. Silage making is not common. The practice of feeding crop by-products also serves to increase efficiency between the livestock and crop enterprises through nutrient cycling, an important factor given the deficiency of important soil nutrients resulting from the intensive cropping based on few purchased inputs. For example, manure that is rich in organic and inorganic nutrients is applied to crops, whose residues are fed back to cattle to supplement the planted forage and that collected from common properties. This practice, besides improving the organic matter content and structure of the soil, cycles important soil nutrients particularly nitrogen and phosphorus that could otherwise only be replenished through the purchase of more expensive inorganic fertilizer. Utiger et al., (2000) estimated annual on-farm nutrient flows between dairy enterprises and crop residues in an intensively farmed peri-urban area to be 7,800kg DM/ha and 3,725kg DM/ha to and from the dairy enterprise, respectively. These nutrient balances correspond to approximately 90kg and 50kg nitrogen, respectively.

Monogastric (pigs and poultry) livestock feeding varies greatly with production system. The more commercial, and mainly peri-urban based producers rely heavily on commercial feeds. But village chicken and pig production are mostly based on scavenging domestic food wastes and occasionally supplemented with grain and agro-industrial by products. In the case of village chicken, grass verges and insects are also major feed sources. A study by Okuthe (1999) in Western Kenya showed that 80 per cent of rural poultry keepers gave no supplementary feeds. However in the peri-urban areas, the majority of producers fed crushed maize or grains as a supplement.

LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Livestock production systems are mainly defined by agro-climate and market access. Kenya has a wide diversity of agro-climatic conditions reflecting variations in altitude, temperature, soil conditions and level and reliability of rainfall. The contrasts between the highland areas with ample rainfall and rich volcanic soils and the semi-arid areas with low and erratic rainfall and poor soils are particularly marked. The various agro-climatic zones (ACZ) as described (Jaetzold and Schmidt, 1983) are presented in Table 3 and illustrated in Figure 3. ACZ 1-4 are associated with arable farming while the systems in ACZ 5-7 are mostly pastoralist. According to the classification of world production systems as described by Seré et al. (1996), production systems in ACZ 1-4 corresponds to mixed farming, rainfed, highlands/ temperate (MRT), while those systems in ACZ 5-7 correspond to grassland-based, humid/ sub-humid (LGA).

Table 3

Classification of agro-climatic zones

Zone

Climatic Description

Rainfall /Evaporative Potential (%)

1

humid

>80

2

sub-humid

65-80

3

semi-humid

50-64

4

semi-humid to semi-arid

40-49

5

semi-arid

25-39

6

arid

15-24

7

very arid

<15

Source: Jaetzold and Schmidt (1983). Farm Management Handbook of Kenya

Figure 3

Geographic regions and agro-climatic zones in Kenya. Source: adapted from Jaetzold and Schmidt (1983)

Specific ruminant production systems and parameters within them have been extensively described by various authors and summarised by Peeler and Omore (1997). They divided production systems into four broad classes (two large- and two small-scale systems) each reflecting the genotype (species/breed), the major product(s) or objectives of production and the physical (climate), biological (flora and fauna) and socio-economic (market orientation and management input6) environments. The estimated median of frequency distributions of herd size for each region has been used to divide the scale of cattle production, within each broad system, into small and large. The classification defines impact zones that may be used, in conjunction with market factors, to carry out ex-ante impact assessment of interventions, and setting of priorities.7 The classes are further fitted into the classification by Seré and Steinfeld (1996).

Cattle production systems

Cattle population, number of households and regions where specific production systems may be found are shown in Table 4. The classification shows that, whereas marketed dairy production is concentrated near consumers (e.g. Nairobi) and in the highland areas with a suitable agro-climate and high human population density, meat production is dominant in arid and semi arid areas. This confirms the presumption that market-oriented dairying is primarily a function of market accessibility, agro-climate and good infrastructure. In contrast, meat production is more economical in areas further away from major consumption centres. Production parameters for selected production systems are summarised in Table 5.

Large scale cattle production systems

Large scale intensive and semi-intensive dairy cattle production systems

Scale is relative and in this classification, farms with more than 20 heads are classified as large scale. Large-scale dairy production systems are found in ACZ 1-4 (MRT) and are owned by a few individuals and public institutions. It is estimated that there are approx. 500,000 heads (about 17 per cent of the total population of exotic and cross bred dairy cattle) (MoA, 1996) in this system. The herd sizes are skewed with only a few farms having over 100 heads. Friesian is the dominant breed but Ayrshire, Guernsey, Brown Swiss and Jersey are also found.

Management in these farms varies greatly from low input - low output to mechanised intensive production based on irrigated legume production and machine milking. The lack of a regular livestock census makes it impossible to determine the extent of decline of the number of large-scale farms. Continuing land sub-divisions and indications from recent studies (e.g., Staal et al., 1998; 2001) suggest that the number of cattle in this system may not be as high as previously assumed. Milk production is estimated at 4000kg/cow/yr (Peeler and Omore, 1997).

Large scale extensive dairy-meat cattle production system

This system is mostly pastoral and agro-pastoral with EAZ cattle and small ruminant production in the low rainfall areas in ACZ 5-7 (LGA). It is found in the northern and southern regions of the Rift Valley, Coast and Eastern Provinces. In some areas, improved Boran and Sahiwal bulls have been introduced (Roderick, 1995). The numbers of cattle in these herds are also very skewed with a minority of pastoralists owning herd sizes of over 150 heads. They have access to considerable grazing land though this is increasingly threatened by continuing land demarcations. Production in some areas (e.g., south Rift Valley and Coast) is constrained by tsetse challenge and seasonal feed shortages.

Table 4

Cattle production systems in Kenya

Production System

Geno-type

Major Product

Agro-Climate/ Farming System

Purpose

Manage-ment

 

Cattle Population ‘000 %

Milk Prod ('000 MT)

No. of Households ‘000 %

Major Production Regions

Seré and Steinfeld (1996) classification

Large Scale

                         

1. a) Intensive dairy

Exotic

dairy

humid to semi-humid/ (ACZ 1-3) crops-livestock

entirely market-oriented

intensive

}

500

4

782

5

<1

Central Rift valley

Mixed farming, rainfed, highlands/ temperate

(MRT)

b) Semi-intensive dairy

Exotic/ crosses

dairy

humid to semi-humid/ (ACZ 1-3) crops-livestock

entirely market-oriented

Semi-intensive

2. Extensive dairy-meat

Zebu

dairy-meat

semi-arid to arid/ (ACZ 5-7) livestock only

mostly pastoralism

extensive

 

4,500

35

246

45

3

North and South Rift Valley, Eastern and Coast

Livestock, grassland-based, humid/ sub-humid

(LGA)

Small Scale

                         

1. a) Intensive dairy-manure

Exotic/ crosses

dairy-manure

humid to semi-humid/ (ACZ 1-3) crops-livestock

mostly market-oriented

Mostly intensive

}

2,500

20

1719

625

47

Central Province, Central Rift Valley, Coast.

Mixed farming, rainfed, highlands/ temperate

(MRT)

b) Semi-intensive dairy-manure

Exotic/ crosses

dairy-manure

humid to semi-humid/ (ACZ 1-3) crops-livestock

mostly market-oriented

Semi- intensive

2. Semi-intensive dairy-meat-draught-manure

Zebu/ few crosses

dairy-meat-draught-manure

humid to semi-arid (ACZ 1-5) crops-livestock

mostly subsistence

semi-intensive

 

5,300

41

328

660

50

Nyanza, Western, Coast, Eastern, Rift Valley

Mixed farming, rainfed, highlands/ temperate

(MRT)

Source: Adapted from Omore et al. (1999)

Table 5

Production Parameters in selected Cattle Production Systems

 

Production System

 

Large scale

 

Small scale

 

Production Parameter

Extensive (Zebu, mostly in LGAb)

semi-intensive (Zebu – mostly in MRTc)

Semi-intensive (exotic/ crosses mostly in MRTc)

Intensive (exotic/ crosses – Mostly in MRTc)

Herd size

>30

1-30

1-20

4 (1-10)

Farm size (ha)

Communal

30

10

1 (0.5-4)

Breeding management

Bull

Bull

Bull/AI

Bull/AI

Grazing management

Free (pastoral)

Free (agro-pastoral)

Semi-zero

Zero

Cultivated land (ha)

0

1-5

4

3

Natural pasture (ha)

communal

20-25

5

0

Proportion breeding cows (%.)

35

35

40

40

Planted pasture (ha)

0

0

<1

1

Age at first calving (years)

4

3.5

3

3

Calving rate (%/yr)a

60

60

70

70

Pre-weaning calf mortality (%/yr)

20

20

15

20

Age at weaning (days)

>200

>200

90

90

Adult mortality (%/yr)

6

6

5

5

Price of in-calf heifers (US$)

100

100

250

300-400

Lactation length (days)

>200

>200

450

450

Milk offtake (litres/cow/yr)

200

250

1555

2000

Milk for calf rearing (litres/cow)

suckling

suckling

270 (bucket)

270 (bucket)

On-farm consumption (litres/cow/yr)

150

240

650

650

Marketed milk production (litres/cow/yr)

0

10

905

1350

aRates are presented as true rates. bLGA = grassland-based, humid/ sub-humid.

cMRT = mixed farming, rainfed, highlands/ temperate;

Source: Omore et al., 1999 (adapted from other sources)

Small scale cattle production systems

Small scale intensive and semi-intensive dairy-manure cattle production systems

About 80 per cent of dairy cattle are found in this production system, which is common in the highland areas of central Rift Valley and Central Provinces (all in ACZ 1-4 or MRT) where some 70 per cent of households own cattle. Friesian is the dominant breed kept by about 40 per cent of agricultural households, but Ayrshire, Guernsey and Jersey are also found (Staal et al., 2001). The exploitation of local breeds for marketed milk production is limited. The farms are small (Table 5) and the farmers produce cash- and food- crops besides milk and meat.

In the intensive systems within these highland areas, farmers own about four cattle on approx. 1 ha. of land cropped with any combination of coffee, tea, maize, edible horticultural crops and some fodder, depending on agro-climate and terrain elevation (Jaetzold and Schmidt, 1983; Gitau et al., 1994; Staal et al., 1998). A high proportion of farmers stall-feed their cattle. The system is common in Kiambu and Murang’a Districts. In the semi-intensive production systems, the number of cattle and the land area per household are slightly larger than those in the intensive systems and many partly free-graze their cattle (Table 5). The system is common in the Rift Valley and in Kirinyaga and Nyandarua districts.

Milking is twice a day in most areas and is done by hand in almost all farms. Some of the milk is bucket fed to calves up to 3 months of age (about 3kg/calf/day). Most cowsheds are built of cheap locally available materials and have earthen floors. In Kiambu District where dairying is most intensive, only 50 per cent and 28 per cent of cow sheds were found to be roofed and with concrete floors, respectively (Omore et al., 1996a). Productive performance is low with long calving intervals of about 600 days; high calf mortality rate of about 20 per cent and low milk yields, mostly between 5-8kg/day; the result of under-nutrition (Omore et al., 1996b; Staal et al., 1998; 2001). The prolonged calving intervals are due not to disease but due to the fact that many farmers only consider mating (or inseminating) cows after they have been milked for at least 200 days (Odima et al., 1994). The lactation length (estimated by doubling the median months of lactation) was 16 months. Long calving intervals and low milk yields seem to be linked constraints and need to be resolved together (Tanner et al., 1998).

Average milk production estimated from past surveys reviewed up to 1996 indicate an average of 1750kg/cow/yr (Peeler and Omore, 1997). More recent and widespread farm characterisation surveys indicate that milk production remains at the same level (Staal et al., 1998; 2001). The surveys conducted under the Smallholder Dairy Project implemented by MoARD/KARI/ILRI (1996-2001) estimated milk production at 7.2kg/cow/day and 5.0kg/cow/day in Kiambu and the rest of the Nairobi milk shed8, respectively. About one third of on-farm production is retained for home consumption and calf rearing. In some cases, manure is highly valued and is sold to other farmers or imported from pastoral areas and marketed to farmers, thus improving the on-farm nutrient balances referred to above. The high value of the manure is reflected in its market value that is equivalent to approx 30 per cent of the value of the annual milk production on small farms (Lekasi et al., 1998).

Table 6 gives some herd management practices and use of services in Kiambu District (high production intensity and market access) and the rest of central Kenya (medium production intensity and market access). The use of AI is higher in Kiambu than in the rest of central Kenya and this reflects relative better access to the service that is commonly sourced from dairy cooperative societies besides private practitioners. Use of tick control is much lower, reflecting lower TBD challenge in the stall-feeding systems that predominate. Overall, the figures in all areas reflect levels of service use that have dropped considerably following privatisation of most of the services (Staal et al., 2001).

Table 6

Distribution of some farm management practices recorded on farms with cattle in Kiambu District and the rest of central Kenya.

Variable

per cent

 

Kiambu

Rest of central Kenya

Stall feeding (zero grazing)

67

37

Use of artificial insemination

52

29

Tick control by acaricide

71

90

Cattle vaccinations

63

69

Use of anthelmintics

89

92

Use of private veterinary service

41

43

Source: Staal et al. (1998; 2001).

Small ruminant production systems

The management of small ruminants within the specified production systems follow the same patterns as cattle and are also classified based on scale of production, the major product(s), agro-climate where production takes place and market orientation. In many systems the small ruminants are kept together with cattle.

Large-scale small ruminant production systems

In large-scale sheep and goat production, the predominant breed is the small East African hair goat, however, in parts of the northern rangelands (ACZ5-7) the Galla goat is popular, and is becoming increasingly common in other areas. Fat tailed sheep are predominantly found, especially the red Masaai and black-headed Somali. In some areas, genes of the dorper sheep have been introduced. Sheep and goats are kept in mixed herds with cattle, and in the northern rangelands, camels. Because they browse, goats survive better than other ruminants in dry periods and serve as an important source of milk when cattle production is low. Sheep are only occasionally milked. Otherwise, the small ruminants are mainly kept for subsistence meat production and are also sold to meet cash needs. The only significant input in this system is veterinary drugs.

Small-scale small ruminant production systems

Most small-scale small ruminant systems are based on the East African goat and the fat tailed sheep breeds in mixed farms where crops and small scale cattle keeping predominate (ACZ 1-4) Smallholders without cattle are more likely to milk their goats. Increasingly, smallholders (although few in number, as yet) are improving the dairy genes of their goats by cross-breeding with imported dairy goats. The goats are generally fed the same feeds as cattle. Limited small-scale wool production also exists in this system.

Monogastric production systems

These are chicken and pig production systems. The three main categories of chickens reported in the official statistics show that of an estimated 28 million birds, indigenous birds make up 76 per cent of the total population, hybrid broilers and layers make up 24 per cent (Table 7). A fairly clear distinction can be drawn between “backyard” (referring to free range chickens that mainly feed by scavenging) and commercial systems that rely on purchased agro-industrial by-products. A comparison of “backyard” and commercial poultry systems suggests that both have their place in meeting the growth in demand for animal products in Kenya. Pig production systems are similarly classified but their contribution is very limited and will therefore not be discussed further.

Indigenous backyard poultry production systems

Most indigenous poultry flocks average less than 20 birds per household (Okuthe, 1999; Okitoi et al., 2000; Staal et al., 2001). Inputs into this system are limited. The investment cost of establishment is small since young or breeding stock are often provided as gifts or on loan and housing is limited to shutting the birds up in the household kitchen at night. Thus capital and recurrent costs are very low. This system is therefore well suited to very poor households where women or children are normally entrusted with poultry keeping. The occasional sale of birds involves little or no additional marketing cost. Some estimates of productivity parameters are given in Table 7.

The official statistics by MALDM given in the first column have been used unchanged for several years for the estimation of total poultry meat and egg production. The second and third columns present survey results from two areas in Western Kenya between September 1996 and April 1997 (Okuthe 1999). Hens in the indigenous system are both layers and brooders. Thus clutches of eggs are laid and brooded at intervals, two to four times per year. As a result of the practice and poor nutritional levels annual egg production is very low with estimates ranging from 30 to 60 per year. Some are consumed or sold but, in rural areas, over 50 percent are kept for hatching.

Table 7

Production parameters for “backyard” indigenous poultry systems

Parameter

Estimate by source

 

MALDM 1996 Okuthe (1999)

   

Rural

Peri-urban

Age at maturity (days)

225

-

-

Pullet weight at maturity (kg)

1.2

1.6

1.6

Number hens per cock

7

6.4

5.0

Clutches per year

3

-

-

Eggs per clutch

20

34 per year

52 per year

Consumed or sold %

50

49

83

Hatchability %

90

62

61

Mortality 0-8 weeks %

60

56

39

Mortality 8-24 weeks %

20

23

23

Mortality adults %

10

33

52

Chick mortality rates are high, averaging between 40 per cent and 60 per cent over the first eight weeks. A large number of these are due to predation and accidents given that the chicks are rarely confined. There are generally proportionally fewer deaths among older birds, but disease risks are high. The most important disease problem is Newcastle Disease (NCD), which besides being the most prevalent, also has the highest case fatality rate. An outbreak of NCD could eliminate an entire flock. Though vaccines are available at government and private clinical veterinary offices, most indigenous chicken producers do not vaccinate their chickens. The reason is most likely the difficulty in delivering the vaccine that requires cold storage but also the lack of appreciation by producers that veterinary input may be required. Indeed the survey by Okuthe (1999) in the Western Kenyan highlands revealed that many smallholder producers are not aware of preventive or therapeutic veterinary treatments for poultry. Without disease, reproduction rates can be quite high, reaching over 10 young birds reared per hen per year. Significant increases in productivity in this system can be achieved by simple improvements not only in disease and predator control but also in improved housing and feeding management (Okitoi et al., 2000).

Most of the eggs not used for hatching are consumed within the household. Few are sold. Many of the chickens produced are retained as replacements, eaten by household members, exchanged as gifts or entrusted to neighbours. Some are also sold locally to neighbours or in village markets. Traders may buy in these markets to transport and sell on in urban areas.

Improvement in productivity of the “backyard” system consists largely of adaptive research and extension. This should concentrate on the areas of simple and inexpensive housing, disease control and perhaps ways to improve nutrition and growth rates. Research should be farmer-participatory, farming systems oriented and involve on farm testing. There should be a strong socio-economic component to assess the costs and benefits of the alternative measures proposed.

Commercial poultry production systems

There is little published information on this system of producing eggs and broiler meat besides the records available at the MoARD (formerly MALDM) and surveys conducted by KARI under the National Dairy Cattle and Poultry Research Project (de Jong and Mukisira, 2000; Kooijman and Mukisira, 2000) and an isolated study by Gitao (1995). These studies documented a wide range of scales of operation. In a survey of 100 commercial poultry farms within 15 km of Nairobi, Gitao (1995) found 20 farms had fewer than 100 birds, 50 farms had between 100 and 1000 birds, while the remaining 30 farms had between 1000 and 10,000 birds, all supplying poultry products to Nairobi. Hatcheries supplying these farmers are even larger; for instance, the largest hatchery reportedly produces over 8 million day-old chicks (6.4 million broilers and 1.7 million layers) annually (MALDM, 1996).

Though capital investment requirements, especially housing, for this system are high, the importance is likely to be growing with rapid urbanisation and the corresponding increase in demand for livestock products. The indications for this can already be found in the continued expansion of companies that provide day old chicks. The high investment costs and the current high cost of credit means that most poor farmers are excluded from commercial poultry production.

NCD and Infectious Bursal (Gumboro), Fowl Typhoid and Coccidiosis are reported to be important diseases in this system but there is better use of veterinary clinical services than in the “backyard” system and there are obvious economies of scale in delivery of health treatments. Chronic Respiratory Disease, malnutrition and vitamin deficiency are also important (Gitao, 1995). On average the margin per bird is claimed by MoARD to be considerably higher for egg than for broiler production.

Market conditions for the commercial poultry sector tend to highly fluctuate and it is considered that policies should be aimed at facilitating and monitoring the markets for inputs such as breeding stock, day-old chicks, concentrate feeds, veterinary services and outputs. To further encourage the growth of this sector, monitoring and control of feed quality is highly desirable, as is the need for institutions to do general surveillance of market conditions to avoid the growth of monopolistic practices by the large-scale hatcheries, feed mills and processors. Cheaper sources of credit are desirable to enable more households to start commercial poultry farming. Export of poultry products may be facilitated by appropriate trade policies.

DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING OF LIVESTOCK PRODUCTS

Milk marketing

Of the smallholder production of 1.72 million MT estimated in 1997, on-farm consumption or non-marketed milk accounted for 626 million litres (36 per cent) and the remaining 1,093 million litres (64 per cent) was marketed (Figure 4). Only 12 per cent of marketed milk is pasteurised and the remainder is sold as non-processed milk. The non-processed milk market channels and proportions include: (i) direct milk sales to consumers by farm households (58 per cent); and (ii) milk collected by farmer groups (mainly dairy co-operative societies) and individual milk traders who sell either directly to consumers (38 per cent). Demand projections indicate that Kenya can continue to be self sufficient in milk supply with modest improvements of 3 per cent in productivity of the dairy herd above the current levels (Omore et al., 1999).

Figure 4

Marketing channels (‘000 MT) for smallholder milk in Kenya, 1997 (proportions of marketed in brackets; adapted from Omore et al., 1999)

The factors driving the continued importance of the raw milk markets are traditional preferences for fresh raw milk, which is boiled before consumption, and unwillingness to pay the costs of processing and packaging. By avoiding pasteurizing and packaging costs, raw milk markets offer both higher prices to farmers and lower prices to consumers. The quality of raw milk is reasonable but there are concerns by public officials about health risks when sales are made directly to consumers. Recent surveys in the Kenyan highlands show some 15 per cent higher farm-gate prices and 25-50 per cent lower retail prices through the raw milk market compared to the formal packed milk market (Ouma et al., 2000). Other factors contributing to the continued dominance of raw milk markets include convenience of delivery to the doorstep of the consumer in variable quantities by the producers themselves or small milk traders. Besides these benefits to producers and consumers, thousands of small traders are employed through the raw milk trade and they make profits (returns to labour) that are 2-3 times higher than the national minimum.

Though the overall quantity of pasteurised milk remains appears to have remained stagnant at about 500,000 litres per day, the market shares of the rest of the traded milk described above have been quite dynamic. Indications in 1999 were that many producers who opted for small milk traders to buy their milk were returning to traditional dairy cooperatives as the costs and risks of dealing with informal intermediaries were found to be too high (Morton et al., 1999).

Regulations restricting the sale of raw milk due to safety concerns and the manner in which they have been enforced have unnecessarily constrained efficiency in milk marketing. There is need to revise the regulations and to put in place mechanisms for their regular monitoring. In apparent response to recent documentation of milk consumption, safety and policy information regarding informal milk markets (MoARD/KARI/ILRI, 1996-2001), there are indications that official steps will be effected to legalise aspects of the raw milk trade - that up to now have been restricted due to unjustified public health concerns - through training and certification of milk market agents. One identified potential health risk that any heat treatment cannot deal with that warrants urgent attention is the high levels of anti-microbial residues in milk, reported to be present in one in ten milk samples sold at consumer outlets (Aboge et al., 2000).

Meat marketing

Statistics on meat marketing in Kenya are few. The Kenya Meat Commission that played a major role in beef marketing by handling up to 25 per cent of the Kenya’s market for slaughter stock until the early 1990s (GoK, 1994) is still not operating and there is little hope for its revival. In its place, private slaughterhouses have emerged in major towns to fill the gaps in meat marketing. These slaughterhouses are supplied through a chain of trader-types commonly referred to as primary, secondary and terminal traders. Primary traders comprise small-scale itinerant traders who purchase stock from farmers and supply local butchers or trek them to larger-scale secondary traders in more distant markets. Secondary traders in turn supply terminal markets or major slaughterhouses in larger urban areas. Hundreds of kilometres are normally covered before terminal markets are reached since most slaughter animals are transported (or trekked) from arid and semi-arid areas to urban consumption centres.

The MoARD records total ruminant meat exports and imports (figures obtained from Customs Department) as less than 0.1 per cent of total meat consumed but there are undocumented reports that the figures do not fully capture the full extent of the meat trade, particularly meat imports into Kenya from Somalia in the north and Tanzania in the south. The FAOSTATs (Table 8) that reflect the same figures indicate decreasing net exports and deficits have started to occur particularly for red meats. The net exports for red meats may be even lower given the undocumented reports of increasing imports of ruminants for slaughter from neighbouring countries. These trends will likely cause gradual increases in meat prices. The presence of endemic livestock diseases limits the development of trade in livestock with distant overseas markets. The sort of investment required for sanitary/disease control measures in order to access overseas markets where returns may be higher (e.g., in Botswana) is considered not feasible in the foreseeable future.

Table 8

Net exports of meat and eggs from Kenya (MT)

 

1979

1984

1989

1994

1999

Bovine meat

2,344

5,218

459

-87

205

Sheep and goat meat

25

-18

-176

-126

12

Pig meat

518

43

-33

658

881

Poultry meat

53

-6

13

44

20

Eggs

163

-22

7

29

14

Source: FAOSTATs.

NB. Negative values imply imports exceed exports

RESEARCHABLE CONSTRAINTS AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Given the massive increases in demand for food of animal origin that has been predicted for developing countries in the coming years (Delgado et al., 1999), opportunities for and benefits from livestock production will increase. The expected large increase in demand for milk is expected to provide opportunities for the smallholder producers that predominate in Kenya. Therefore expansion of milk, meat and egg production is desirable to meet growing demands for these animal products and to raise incomes of agricultural households. Opportunities to realise benefits are already being supported by shifts in policy and structural changes in support of private enterprise. These policy and institutional adjustments are expected to continue to improve the economic environment for livestock and marketing agents serving them.

However, many constraints have to be resolved for producers and market agents to benefit. Though markets reforms have taken place, many necessary changes in policy and institutions have neither been identified nor implemented, and this has held back sustained growth in farm productivity and incomes particularly among the smallholders who dominate livestock production. There is an urgent need that mechanisms for the delivery of both efficient marketing and input services to smallholders, including credit, are expanded. Because of their lack of resources, smallholders need strong institutions to support them; both for service provision and for innovative research support under intensifying conditions. The strengthening of these support organisations is an urgent priority in order to improve livestock productivity. A major challenge in technological and institutional research will be to show how recommended options could be translated into development by demonstrating the first steps to be taken, for example, through case studies. This is a major challenge that will require innovative approaches given that most input and output market services have been privatised. But doing so is more likely to begin to fill the gaps in translating research findings into development impacts.

At the production level, under-nutrition and seasonal fluctuations in quantity and quality of feed resources and the low rate of adoption of available technologies to address them remains a major constraint to improved productivity, especially in dairy production areas. Importantly as well is ruminant livestock disease challenge especially tick borne diseases (TBDs) and trypanosomosis in extensive areas. Disease risk, especially from TBDs, is considered to be a major contributor to the low adoption of dairying using exotic breeds in otherwise potentially suitable areas such as western Kenya. Research to overcome the risks through the development of effective integrated strategies including easily deliverable vaccines against the diseases is therefore a priority. An alternative approach to dealing with the high disease impact on livestock with exotic genes may be to devise mechanisms to systematically select and make available local breeds (including the Sahiwal) that are better adapted to the local environment for both marketed milk and meat production.

The development of effective integrated intervention programmes to resolve production constraints needs to be underpinned by a more comprehensive understanding. Comprehensive studies on the epidemiology of the various diseases need to include the quantification of their spatial and temporal dynamics; the economic and human health impacts (in the case of zoonoses); and, the potential gains from controlling them. Besides the value of comprehensive disease data in quantifying direct impacts and designing pragmatic intervention programmes, they can also be of value in the removal of ill-advised policy barriers. For example, the lack of accurate milk-borne disease risk information in Kenya has contributed to regulations that unnecessarily exclude the poor majority from participating in milk marketing (Omore et al., 2000). This exemplifies why research on production constraints must be more holistic and not exclude related marketing, policy and institutional issues. The constraints must also be tackled within the context of the complex crop-livestock systems in which most animals are found. This implies multiple objectives of the producers, a factor that must be considered paramount. Lastly, as pointed out above, solutions must also be made within the context of the capacity of the government and the emerging private sector to respond to them.

A major non-technical constraint in many areas is the poor state of rural roads that limit access to output markets. Good roads are particularly important for milk marketing given its perishability. Recent estimates from characterisation surveys by MoARD/KARI/ILRI (1996-2001) show that bad roads significantly reduce the likelihood of dairy adoption besides lowering the farm-gate milk price by as much as 3 per cent per Km. on average. This partly explains why dairy production is currently concentrated close to urban areas or near passable roads. As infrastructure (roads, input, output market organisations) develops, the advantages of proximity will be reduced and production may well move away from intensive peri-urban systems and shift to more extensive systems. Indeed with improved infrastructure, even smallholder farmers with low yielding local breeds could enter marketed milk production. Until these infra-structural improvements occur, and because of the ready availability of cheap labour and the relative expense of financial capital, smallholder milk production and informal raw milk marketing are likely to predominate for the foreseeable future. Consequently it is anticipated that the industrialised model of dairy production, processing and marketing will remain a minor contributor in Kenya.

Indigenous “backyard” poultry production requires the least capital investment and is considered to offer one of the highest returns compared to other livestock enterprises. The low level of capital investment involved means that this enterprise is well suited to poor households. However, scope for expansion is strictly limited by the nutritional constraint of scavenging for feed and disease. A major expansion may necessitate conversion to a more intensive commercial system. Options for improvement of backyard systems consist largely of adaptive research and extension. Interventions for the commercial poultry production should be aimed at facilitating and monitoring of the markets for inputs (breeding stock, day-old-chicks, concentrate feeds, veterinary services, credit) and outputs (eggs, birds, and poultry meat). As this system expands, regulation of quality and sanitary assurance will become increasingly important.

SOURCES OF FURTHER INFORMATION

TEGEMEO Agricultural Monitoring and Policy Analysis (TAMPA) Project, Kenya http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/fs2/kenya/Tegemeo_act.htm

The Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR). http://www.ipar.or.ke/

Institute of Economic Affairs. http://www.iea.or.ke/

Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa http://www.asareca.org

International Centre for Research in Agroforestry. http://www.icraf.org/

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1 The value of the contribution of all livestock was estimated at KSh 70,330 million (≈ USD 1,170 million) by CBS (1996) but this was considered an under-estimate by Peeler and Omore (1997) who estimated ruminant production alone at KSh 82,500 million (approx. USD 1,375 million).

2 Though no census update has been undertaken recently, livestock population in pastoral areas is considered to be in equilibrium in the long-run though yearly changes would occur depending on the weather

3 Estimated at $700 for each product in 1997

4 Estimated by multiplying the total LWT by a factor of 0.6. The MoARD estimated a similar figure of 357,000 MT in 1999.

5 The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) has frequently changed names in the past and has previously been referred by various acronyms: MoA (Ministry of Agriculture, MALD (Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and MALDM (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development & Marketing)

6 Management input (classified as intensive, semi-intensive and extensive) describes the degree of external purchased inputs and labour

7 District level dis-aggregation of these classes is contained in Peeler and Omore (1997).

8 The seven districts in the Nairobi milk shed selected for the SDP characterisation surveys were: Kirinyaga, Machakos, Nakuru, Narok, Nyandarua, Murang’a and Nairobi.