Determinants of dairy cattle breed biodiversity in rural traditional smallholder farms: Case of Kibugu in Kenya

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/01/2018
Views (259) Download (16)

Determinants of dairy cattle breed biodiversity in rural traditional smallholder farms: Case of Kibugu in Kenya

Mutembei Henry M’Ikiugu, Emily Kilonzi
J. Bio. Env. Sci.12( 1), 12-21, January 2018.
Certificate: JBES 2018 [Generate Certificate]


The livestock biodiversity suffers a threat from human civilization through abandonment and/or intensification of agricultural activities. This paper documents dynamism of dairy breed biodiversity and its determinants. Data was collected by surveying 93 households and five key informants using semi-structured questionnaires, interviews and observations. The nonparametric Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was used to determine the dairy practice frontier on breed conservation. The average farm size was 0.5-1 acres of land and 53.3% of the respondents perceived this to be small for dairying but majority (67.8%) still practiced the enterprise despite also majority (72%) feeling it wasn’t worthy. The 10-year dynamism indicated that 19% of the respondents intensified on dairying while 13% abandoned the enterprise in favour of other livestock. In a scale of 1-6, dairying was ranked 6 as a source of income, 6 as a symbol of society status and 1 on ease of care for the enterprise. Big breeds (Friesian, Ayrshire and Guernsey) were perceived highly (6-4) as symbols of beauty and society status while small breeds (Jersey and crossbreeds) were ranked highly (6-5) on ease of care and disease tolerance. Intensification and/or abandonment of the dairy practice as influenced by societal expectations and/or challenges of farming were noted to be the main determinants of the dynamisms of the breed biodiversity in Kibugu; intensification caused a positive externality on breed biodiversity while abandonment caused the negative externality on breed biodiversity. This serves to providing evidence to inform policy decisions that support sustainable dairying in rural areas.


Bebe BO, Udo HM, Rowlands GJ, Thorpe W. 2003. Smallholder dairy systems in the Kenya highlands: breed preferences and breeding practices. Livestock Production Science 82(2), 117-127.

Boussofiane A, Dyson RG, Thanassoulis E. 1991. Applied Data Envelopment Analysis. European Journal of Operational Research 52, 1 – 15.

Cooper WW, Seiford LM, Tone K. 2002. Data Envelopment Analysis: A comprehensive text with models, applications, references and DEA-solver software. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.  1-213.

De Koeijer TJ, Wossink GAA, Struik PC, Renkema JA. 2002. Measuring agricultural sustainability in terms of efficiency: the case of Dutch sugar beet growers. Journal of environmental management 66, 9 – 17.

Dullinger S, Dirnböck T, Greimler J, Grabherr G. 2003. A resampling approach of evaluating effects of pasture abandonment on subalpine plant species diversity. Journal of Vegetation Science 14, 243 – 252.

FAO. 2017. Livestock and the Environment. Retrieved from Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Website:

Färe R, Grosskopf S, Lovell CAK. 1994. Production frontiers. Cambridge University Press.

Färe R, Grosskopf S. 2004. New Directions: Efficiency and Productivity, Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Fonderflick J, Lepart J, Caplat P, Debussche M, Marty P. 2010. Managing agricultural change for biodiversity. Biological Conservation 143, 737–746.

Jahnke HE, Jahnke HE. 1982. Livestock production systems and livestock development in tropical Africa 35.

Kleijn D, Kohler F, Báldi A, Batáry P, Concepción ED, Clough Y, Díaz M, Gabriel D, Holzschuh A, Knop E, Kovács A, Marshall EJ. P, Tscharntke T, Verhulst J. 2009. On the relationship between farmland biodiversity and land-use intensity in Europe. Proceedings of the Royal Society 276, 903 – 909.

Kuemmerle T, Hostert P, Radeloff VC, van der Linden S, Perzanowski K, Kruhlov I. 2008. Cross-border comparison of post-socialist farmland abandonment in the Carpathians. Ecosystems 11, 614–628.

Kuosmanen T, Kortelainen M. 2004. Data Envelopment Analysis in environmental valuation: environmental performance, eco-efficiency and cost-benefit analysis. Working paper, ISBN 952-458- 528-6.

Kuosmanen T, Kortelainen M. 2005. Measuring Eco- efficiency of Production with Data Envelopment Analysis. Journal of Industrial Ecology 9(4), 59 – 72.

Lambin EF, Meyfroidt P. 2010. Land use transitions: Socio-ecological feedback versus socioeconomic change. Land Use Policy 27, 108–118.

Lauwers LH, Van Huylenbroeck G. 2003. Materials balance based modelling of environmental efficiency. Paper at the 25th International Conference of Agricultural Economists, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa.

Lesschen JP, Stoorvogel JJ,  Smaling EMA. 2004. Scaling soil nutrient balances. Enabling mesolevel applications for African realities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Fertilizer and Plant Nutrition Bulletin 15) – ISBN 9251052379 – 132 p.

Mac Donald D, Crabtree JR, Wiesinger G, Dax, T, Stamou N, Fleury P, Gutierrez Lazpita J, Gibon A. 2000. Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental Consequences and policy response. Journal of Environmental Management 59, 47 – 69.

Mc Dermott JJ, Staal SJ, Freeman HA, Herrero M, Van de Steeg A. 2010. Sustaining intensification of smallholder livestock systems in the tropics. Livestock science 130(1), 95-109.

Mulwa RM. 2006. Economic and Environmental performance of Sugarcane Production in Kenya: Non-Parametric Frontier Approaches. Margraf Publishers.

Nuppenau EA, Waldhardt R, Solovyeva I. 2011. Biodiversity and Traditional Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture: Implications for Interdisciplinary Research in the Carpathian Mountains. In: Knowles, Barbara (Ed.), Conference proceedings “Mountain hay meadows – hotspots of biodiversity and traditional culture”, Gyimesközéplok, Romania 7-9 Juni 2010, Society of Biology, London, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-900490-40-8.

Muriuki HG. 2011. Dairy development in Kenya. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome.

Murithi FM. 1998. Economic evaluation of the role of livestock in mixed smallholder farms of the central highlands of Kenya. Economic evaluation of the role of livestock in mixed smallholder farms of the central highlands of Kenya.  PhD thesis, Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, UK.

Mutembei HM, Tsuma VT, Muasa BT, Mraya J, Mutiga ER. 2015. Bovine in vitro Embryo Production and its Contribution Towards Improved Food Security in Kenya. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 15(1), 9722-9743.

Reinhard S, Lovell CAK, Thijssen G. 1999. Econometric estimation of technical and environmental efficiency: An application to Dutch dairy farms. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 81, 44 – 60.

Reinhard S, Lovell, CAK, Thijssen G. 2000. Environmental efficiency with multiple environmentally detrimental variables; estimated with SFA and DEA. European Journal of Operational Research 121, 287 – 303.

Schader C. 2009. Cost-effectiveness of organic farming for achieving environmental policy targets in Switzerland. PhD Thesis. Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Wales. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, (FiBL), Frick, Switzerland.

Sipiläinen T, Marklund PO, Huhtala A. 2008. Efficiency in agricultural production of biodiversity: Organic vs. conventional practices. Paper prepared for presentation at the 107th EAAE Seminar “Modeling of Agricultural and Rural Development Policies”. Sevilla, Spain, January 29th – February 1st,

Solovyeva I, Nuppenau EA, Biro R, Larkham K. 2011. Traditional Farming Systems and Transition Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture: A Comparative Analysis of Institutions and Cooperation in Romanian and Ukrainian Rural Areas of the Carpathian Mountains. IASC Conference proceedings ‘Shared Resources in a Rapidly Changing World, European Regional Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons’, Plovdiv, Bulgaria 14-17 September 2011, Digital Library of the Commons.

Solovyeva I, Nuppenau EA. 2012. Improving Measures for Targeting Agri-Environmental Payments: The Case of High Nature Value Farming. European Association of Agricultural Economists, 126th Seminar, Capri, Italy, 27-29 June 2012. Ag Econ Search.

Tasser E, Tappeiner U. 2002. Impact of land use changes on mountain vegetation. Applied Vegetation Science 5, 173–184.

Thorpe W, Muriuki HG, Omore AO, Owango MO, Staal SJ. 2000. Dairy development in Kenya: the past, the present and the future. Paper presented at the Annual Symposium of the Animal Production Society of Kenya (APSK). Theme: Challenges to Animal Production in this Millennium, KARI Headquarters, Nairobi, March 22-23, 2000. Nairobi (Kenya).

Thornton PK. 2010. Livestock production: recent trends, future prospects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 365(1554), 2853–2867.

Van Huylenbroeck G, Whitby M. 1999. Countryside Stewardship: Farmers, Policies and Markets. Pergamon, Amsterdam, 232p.