In recent times, dairy farming has become a major economic activity for many smallholder farmers in Kiambu County. This has been encouraged by the rising demand for milk and dairy products by the growing population. Following this, there has been an increased demand for dairy cow feeds by the small-scale farmers and therefore the need to do this study. The general objective of the study was to contribute to improved livelihood by determining level of demand of dairy cows feed and promote farmers‟ market participation decision making. This study utilized both secondary and primary data sources with the questionnaire being adopted as the major data collection tool. A Multi-stage sampling method was used to come up with a sample of 150 dairy farmers that were interviewed. To analyze the data, the study utilized descriptive statistics to determine small scale farmers‟ characteristics. Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) model was applied to assess demand for dairy cow feeds. The double hurdle model was used to analyze the decision to participate in the market and extent of participation. The results from the study indicated that 90% of the farmers participated in markets for cows‟ feeds in the study area. On the demand for cows feeds, the Hicksian result indicated that value of compensated own price elasticity for by-products was found to be the lowest (-0.31), followed by that for minerals (-0.28), then concentrates (-0.19) and highest was fodder at (-0.16). The Uncompensated/ Marshallian own price elasticities in absolute terms was found to be lowest for minerals (-0.36) followed by by-products (-0.37) then Fodders (-0.46), and finally concentrates (-0.69). The calculated expenditure elasticities for all the cow feeds were found to be positive and less than one, indicating that they can be considered normal/ necessary goods. Gender, education and age were found to influence the decision to participate in markets for cows‟ feeds. On the other hand age, extension service, farm size, on-farm incomes from milk sales and crops had an influence on the extent of farmer‟s participation in markets. Information generated will be utilized by small scale farmers, dairy co-operatives and all stakeholders. This study will be useful to the target population to understand the various strategies of feed conservation aiming at sustaining stable milk production. Policy implications include proper planning of feed supplies, creation of opportunities and reduction in cow feeds prices. Policy makers to identify points of interventions and as such design effective and efficient mechanisms on promotion of irrigation schemes and water harvesting technologies to create a seamless availability of cow feeds.

Background Information 
The agricultural sector plays a dominant role in the Kenyan economy directly accounting for approximately 26% and indirectly 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), (GOK 2010). Major agricultural activities in Kenya are crop production, horticulture as well as dairy and other livestock farming. Traditionally, foreign exchange earners have been tea, coffee, and horticulture. Others are fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, beef and dairy products. 

The livestock subsector accounts for approximately 10% of national GDP. This is 30% of the agriculture GDP (National livestock Policy, 2008). It employs 50% of the national agriculture work force and about 90% of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) work force (Behnke and Muthami, 2010). The National census of 2009 established Kenya‟s animal resource base to be 17.5 million cattle, 27.7 million goats, 17 million sheep, 3 million camels, 31.8 million domestic birds, 1.8 million donkeys and an undetermined number of companion, game and aquatic animals. Animal resources provide livelihoods and wealth for Kenyans and significantly contribute to the national economy (GOK, 2015). The main products include white meat from pigs and poultry, red meat from cattle, goats, camels and dairy culls, milk, wool, skins, hides, and eggs. The subsector‟s importance has increased in recent times due to increasing demand for foods of animal origin. 

The increased demand for foods of animal origin is as a result of population growth, urbanization and increasing incomes, concomitant with a diet shift towards animal products. The massive increase in demand for meat products over the past few decades has created significant opportunities for smallholder farmers to meet this demand from their farm produce as well as improved household income and welfare (Herrero et al., 2010). However the production potential of grazing lands has declined, but the extent of the decline has been poorly quantified and has not been documented. Additionally, in Africa rangelands though currently contestable, uncontrolled grazing and recurrent drought have considerably reduced their carrying capacity, (FAO, 2013). This has led to the need for improved livestock systems and or technology application as well as increased demand for fodder/grasses and subsequently a decrease in production capacity. 

Dairy cattle feeds in Kenya account for between 60-80 percent of the production costs in livestock farming, depending on the intensity of production. In countries where production systems are advanced, the cost of feeds still account for more than 50% of the total production costs (GOK, 2001). This proportion means that other necessary additional inputs into the production system (labor, breeding, power, water, medication and services) contribute relatively low to the total cost of cow‟s feeds. 

Kenya‟s livestock feed industry comprises of such components as the pastoral (forage pasture/ fodder), industrial by-products and manufactured feeds. The pastoral feeds provide the principal dietary component for ruminant production (cattle, goats, sheep, camels), while manufactured feeds may be used as and when necessary and are primarily applied to intensive production mainly for pigs and poultry (FAO, 2013). The industrial by-products comprise of dry yeast, brewers waste and pineapple pulps which are often used mainly for feeding the dairy cattle during periods when pasture/ forage is scarce and or when concentrates prices are high. The main ingredients for the manufactured feeds are wheat bran, wheat pollard, maize bran, maize germ and rice bran, which are often scarce in the market resulting in high prices for these feeds. The kinds of feeds used depend on the dairy system the farmer is applying. 

Extensive dairy systems are exclusively fed by pastoral feeds and natural pastures such as grasses and cultivated weeds. Semi-intensive production systems such as those rearing cross breeds use fodder crops that include; kales, cabbages, sweet potato, and Napier grass as principle dietary component and feed concentrates may be added as supplement. Intensive production systems maintain mainly exotic dairy breeds in high density pens; use formulated feeds with hay, Lucerne, Napier grass, and concentrates as supplements (Radull, 2005). 

According to World Bank, (2012), Kenya offers numerous investment opportunities especially in livestock feeds industry due to their supply constraints. This has been aggravated by the ever changing climatic conditions experienced over the recent years, growth in the livestock sub- sector and the diminishing land sizes brought forth by land sub-divisions due to high population growth (Staal et al., 2009).The availability of dairy feeds has been a major impediment to productivity due to frequent droughts, lack of appropriate technical knowledge in water harvesting, storage and irrigation, high inputs costs, lack of market information, and lack of feed balance inventories (Thornton, 2010). Due to these supply constraints, it is important to assess where there are gaps and opportunities within the dairy cow‟s value chain for the public and private sectors to invest in order to curb feed shortages for the dairy cows in many parts of the country. 

Small scale dairy farmers especially from Kiambu County often face unforeseen risks that hinder own sufficient production of feeds required to meet the nutritional requirements of their cows. This therefore forces the farmers to make decision to source for the deficit feeds from the markets and either participates as buyers or sellers depending on own production at different levels. This on the other hand makes feeding of dairy cattle account for the highest proportion (50-80%) of production costs depending on the level of dependence or participation of the farmer in the markets for feeds. However, proper planning and management of feeds can only be attained, if farmers access and apply knowledge on simple feeds conservation practices, water harvesting and conservation methods, and understanding the required nutritional needs of the dairy cows while reducing disease infection ceteris paribus thus increasing productivity. 

Statement of the problem 
Of major concern to all the stakeholders in the livestock subsector has been demand for dairy cow feeds. Favorable weather, good soils for growth of forage, and proper management are critical for obtaining maximum dry matter intake from grown feeds. Proper nutrition of the cows enhances good health, increased reproductive efficiency, and optimum milk production during the various lactation stages. Currently, Kiambu County does not have an integrated information data bank on dairy cattle feeds demand. This creates an information gap on the proportion of the dairy cattle feeds supply and demand needed by the current dairy cattle populations. Land constraints, unreliable weather conditions coupled with high cost of commercial feeds have further aggravated the demand for the dairy cattle feeds. These and other factors have brought in- consistencies in feeds availability thus affecting viable returns for the small scale farmers. Therefore, it is imperative to do an accurate assessment of the current dairy cow feeds demand by small-scale farmers and their participation decision in feeds market in Kiambu County. This will point way forward for the national food security policy and planning, while identifying opportunities available in dairy cow feeds marketing. 

Study Objectives 
General objective 
The general objective of the study is to contribute to improved livelihoods by determining the level of demand for dairy cows feed and promoting small scale farmer market participation decision making in Kiambu County. 

Specific objectives 
i. To characterize the small scale dairy farmers in Kiambu County 
ii. To identify the demand for the dairy cow feeds in Kiambu County 
iii. To determine the factors influencing decision of small scale farmers to participate in the markets for dairy feeds in Kiambu County. 

Research questions 
i. What are the characteristics of small scale farmers in Kiambu County? 
ii. What is the demand for dairy cow feeds in Kiambu County? 
iii. What factors influence the decision of small-scale farmers to participate in the markets for dairy cow feeds in Kiambu County? 

Justification of the study 
To achieve the goals and objectives of Vision 2030, livestock feed subsector is one of the major subsectors that will enable and boost the delivery of Kenya‟s meat, hides and skins, milk and dairy products meet local and international marketing demands standards. Due to increasing demand for these products, cows have to be fed well in order to increase their productivity. In return the dairy cattle feed industry in Kenya can have enormous potential that could provide a source of livelihood to millions of people. However, inadequate nutrition is a major constraint that impact negatively on the growth and viability of dairy cattle farming in Kenya. To achieve sustainable development goal of halving people living in absolute poverty especially in rural areas; there is need to re-look at the dairy feeds market role and performance. Identified gaps will provide valuable information in developing opportunities for feed related investment in the dairy cows‟ commodity value chain strategy. This study will provide guidance to stakeholders in dairy feeds industry; farmers, government agencies and non-governmental organizations on issues related to feeds supply. It will further facilitate in identifying possible areas of investment opportunities, by identifying points of intervention that will lead to formulation of effective and efficient enhancing policies. The decisions of the stakeholders and agents in the feeds industry are dependent on various prevailing constraints and mainly available feed resource in various Respondents, communities and markets. An understanding of dairy feeds demand and the ability to forecast priorities for potential investments will help in understanding the market as a whole. This study will analyze strategies used by small scale farmers to conserve available fodder as a lesson to target population aiming at sustaining stable milk production. 

Scope and limitation of the study 
The research was restricted to analysis of demand for dairy cows‟ feeds and characterization of small scale farmers while determining their market participation decision in Kiambu County. The study focused on four cow feeds namely Pennisetum purpureum (napier grass), hay, agro- industry wastes (pineapple pulp, brewers waste and yeast) and concentrates (dairy meal). The livestock species of interest to the research was the dairy cow. Feed losses from harvesting, transportation, straw used for bedding, storage and seasonality were limiting constraints, which should have been considered, however, no records were available and time was a limiting factor. This study required weighing, and recording types of feed fed daily to cows using different measuring scales by farmers which were not conducted due to time and resource constraint. 

Definition of terms 
Adlibitum: Continuous access to feed/s that permits livestock to satisfy their appetite for that available feed/s (WT). Diet offered free-choice, allowing animals to eat as much as they desire; typically allows for 10% leftover from a daily allotment. 

Agro-industrial by-products: Feeds produced during the industrial processing of plants and their seeds, for example brewing and distillery residues from grains and molasses from sugarcane. This study will focus on wet yeast, pineapple pulp and brewers waste. 

Balanced ration: The daily food intakes that provide all required nutrients in proper proportion for normal health, maintenance (of body weight), growth, reproduction, lactation or work. 

Bran: Coarse outer grain coating, separated during processing. 

Concentrates: Classification of feedstuffs high in energy and low in fiber, usually further  divided into energy and protein concentrates. Often used interchangeably with supplement (for example corn, barley, soybean). 

Feed: Materials of nutritional value fed to livestock. Each species has a normal diet composed of feeds or feedstuffs which are appropriate to its‟ kind of alimentary tract and which are economically sensible as well as being nutritious and palatable. 

Feed Assessment: is a data and computation-based analysis of the supplies and demands for livestock feeds in a country, where livestock includes all beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, swine, equines and poultry (FAO, 2012). 

Fodder: Green or cured plants such as maize and sorghum, browse as small stems, leaves, flowers and fruits of shrubs, trees or woody vines. 

Hay: Grasses and forage legumes that have been cut and dried for livestock feed (WT) 

Market: The set of actual and potential buyers of a special product, (Kotler, 1997). In this study, a market is conceptualized as any structure that allows buyers and sellers to exchange any type of goods, services and information. 

Market participation: Take part in the buying and sale of goods and services 

Off farm incomes: Is generated when a farmer, spouse or other family member works off the farm, thereby generating extra income for the family. 

Straw: The dry remains of a cereal crop (for example. rice or wheat) after the ears are removed/ harvested 

Supplement: Feed or feed mixtures used to improve the nutritional value of basal feeds. A supplement is rich in one or more of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals or antibiotics, and is combined with other feeds to produce a more complete feed. Often used interchangeably with concentrate. 

Ration: Fixed allowance of total feed for an animal for one day. Usually specifies the individual ingredients and their amounts and the amounts of the specific nutriments such as carbohydrate, fiber, individual minerals and vitamins. Zero grazing/ Stall-feeding: A management system in which all feed is taken to livestock that are confined to a stall or pen.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 77 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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