Livestock Research for Rural Development 25 (1) 2013 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Value chain assessment of small ruminant production, challenges and opportunities: The case of southern rangelands of Kenya

P N Katiku, R K Kimitei, B K Korir, T K Muasya*, J M Chengole**, B P Ogillo, J W Munyasi*** and S K Karimi****

Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Kiboko Research Centre, PO Box 12 Makindu, Kenya
* Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Naivasha Research Centre, PO Box 25- 20117 Naivasha, Kenya
** Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Pakerra Research Centre, PO Box 32 Marigat, Kenya
*** Kenya Agriculture Research Institute, Kakamega Research Centre, PO Box 169 Kakamega, Kenya
**** National Council for Science and Technology, PO Box 30623-00100 Nairobi, Kenya


A study to assess the role of markets and marketing integration for enhancing efficiency of Small Ruminant Value Chain (SRVC) and the contribution of sheep and goats to human food security and to the general livelihoods in Semi-Arid Lands (SALs) of Kenya was conducted between May and July in 2008. Several districts were selected and sampled based on their importance in the small ruminant value chain either in production, marketing, processing or consumption. A check list was used to guide interview with major sheep and goat players in the chain in selected districts namely, Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, Garissa, Kitui, Kibwezi, Taita, Taveta, Kilindini, Kinango, Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa. 

The main players in the SRVC in the districts sampled were represented by input suppliers, supportive institutions, producers, traders, butchers and consumers. The input suppliers and processors were represented by agro veterinary shops and slaughterhouse/slaughter slabs respectively. Nairobi and Mombasa had the highest number of processors. The middlemen, mainly brokers, operated at all levels of the value chain. The districts of Baringo and Garissa had the highest populations of goats, over 571,000 and 563,000 heads respectively. The districts with the largest flocks of sheep were Kajiado and Narok with over 498,000 and 372,000 respectively. The population of sheep as compared to that of goats among the agropastoral communities of Kitui and Mutomo districts was almost negligible at slightly above 13,000 and 1,000 respectively. Narok with over 2,000 and Baringo with over 1,000 heads of sheep and goats offered for sale in respective market days were the busiest small ruminant markets in as far as sales volumes were concerned. The highest mean market price for a head of sheep or goat was observed in the terminal market of Nairobi. The constraints experienced by the players in the SRVC were reported to be health, poor or disorganization in markets and marketing, poor genetics and lack of extension services.  

The study observed that over the years, more sheep than goats were preferred by consumers and the volumes of either of the two offered for sale on monthly basis was significantly (P<0.5) higher than that of cattle. However, the SRVC actors were fewer in the rural areas than in the urban centers. Shoat products at the rural household levels were not recorded and more shoat products flowed through the informal markets than the formal markets. The up grading strategy of SRVC in Kenyan ASAL, among other interventions, ought to put into consideration the issues of marketing and infrastructural development. 

Keywords: Africa, food security, goats, markets, pastoral, semi-arid, sheep


Of the approximately 0.8 billion goats in the world today (FAO 2008), the largest concentration is found in Africa. Compared to the rest of the continent, Eastern Africa has the greatest concentration of goats (Payne 1981; FAO 2008) being more than 74 million. Ethiopia has the highest number of goats (18 million), Kenya (10 million), Tanzania (12 million) and Uganda (8 million). They produced over 0.7 million tons of milk and 0.2 million tons of meat in the year 2006 (FAO 2008), besides mohair, cashmere, leather, and manure for fuel and fertilizer. The majority of these animals are found in small holder farms in dry pastoral areas and in the highlands (Sibanda et al 1999; Juma et al 2010; Ahuya et al 2005).

There are currently no accurate estimates of the contribution of goats to human food security and general livelihoods. This is largely because use of goat products at the rural household levels is not recorded and at the national level more goat products flow through the informal markets than the formal markets. Moreover, in the African context, as is true in most developing countries, the conventional concept of dressing percentage is inappropriate because almost all parts of the animal are consumed. What is important though is the fact that goats provide food for poor households where it is most needed.  

The small ruminant genetic resources in Kenya include Sheep; the Black Head Persian and the Red Maasai; and goats; Small East African and the Galla (FAO 1995). These indigenous small stocks are well adapted to their climatic zones and have developed good ability to utilize the vegetation well. The productivity of indigenous breeds is low compared to temperate breeds, but their ability to survive and produce in the harsh and mostly unpredicted tropical environment is remarkable. This ability, particularly by goats, to produce in harsh environmental conditions, is attributed to their low body mass, low metabolic requirements, skilled foraging behaviour and efficient digestive system (Silanikove 2000). 

Under traditional systems, goats make the best use of the marginal grazing and browsing land. However, quality and quantity of grazing has been deteriorating and presently only provides a small proportion of the nutrients required by livestock (Mahgoub et al 2005). Small ruminants in the semi arid lands are mainly grazed and/or browsed on available natural pastures. However, the quantity and quality of fodder available from natural pasture has seasonal fluctuation. During the rainy season, pasture plants grow rapidly and, although their nutritive value may be high at the start of the rainy season, they mature rapidly with a resulting decline in nutritive quality (Coughenour 2004). The situation is worsened because available pasture land is rapidly decreasing due to the increasing human population and increasing demand for crop land (Oteino et al 1992). 

During the dry season, there is an acute shortage of feed and available forages are of very poor nutritive quality (i.e., low in crude protein (CP) and high in fibre), which results in low voluntary intake by ruminants and low digestibility. Low pasture quality and limited availability of water is reflected in low production and reproductive performance, as well as slow growth, in ruminants especially when grazing is the main feed (Oteino et al 1992). Undernourished animals are susceptible to diseases and parasites and, in extreme cases, lose body weight and can die (Merkel et al 1999). Similarly, meat and other products from such poorly fed animals fetch low prices in the market. The Small Ruminant (SR) farmers in the ASALs also face other constraints including lack of markets and marketing systems. The existing systems majorly exploit the livestock keepers. The constraints of lack of market information, diseases challenge, and lack of water for the livestock and poor breeds also impact negatively on SR.  

It is appreciated that live small ruminants have been and are currently marketed from various regions of the Kenyan rangelands to various destinations through use of various market players. Under normal circumstances, small ruminants are the first choice of livestock species to be sold, mainly to meet immediate household needs (Abdi 1996). It is however noted that more than domestic markets, international destinations are more difficult to access due to stringent animal health and quality control requirements. For example, if diseases like Rift Valley Disease, Foot and Mouth Diseases, PPR (peste des petits ruminants), Rinderpest and related diseases are not strictly controlled, exportation of meat to Europe and other international markets (e.g. Middle East, Gulf State nations and Mauritius) is placed under banning restrictions, a situation which is frequently experienced in Kenya (Otieno 2008).

Current knowledge on SR market structure, channels/outlets, conduct, performance and price formulation is poor and inadequate to inform policy and for institutional reform in Kenya. Knowledge on the Kenyan marketing chain is not well understood on how it is organized and structured. Knowledge on how marketing routes and systems could contribute to spread of diseases and their implications to national and international livestock trade is also scanty as to assist in proper design of adequate policy or institutional innovation to improve marketing for the benefit of the market players. 

Under the concept of value chain, all key stakeholders in SR are identified together with their roles and functions. Additionally, the appropriate up grading strategies for the chain are identified and enumerated. Currently scanty information on the key stakeholders, their roles and appropriate up grading strategies of the SRCV in the Kenyan ASAL is available. There is a great need of such studies in local livestock especially at the moment when the concept of commercialization is being promoted even in the marginal rangeland areas. That information is useful in enhancing the efficiency of the chain to all stakeholders and particularly to the policy makers. 


The general objective of analyzing the small ruminant value chain (SRVC) in the Southern rangelands was to undertake an assessment of the chain, identify the role of marketing channels in its performance and determine strategies of  enhancing efficiency of SRVC  in semi-arid lands (SALs) of Kenya. 


Literature surveys were undertaken and data synthesised in order to identify glaring gaps in knowledge and functions in SRVC in selected districts. An exploratory survey was also undertaken aimed at consulting with key stakeholders and collaborators in major SRVC areas. Various meetings and consultations focusing the input suppliers, production, processing and at consumption level were held with potential key collaborators and stakeholders in the districts of Baringo, Narok, Kajiado, Garissa, Kitui, Kibwezi, Taita, Taveta, Kilindini, Kinango, Nairobi, Thika and Mombasa. 

The districts were selected on the basis of their importance in the small ruminant value chain either in production, marketing, processing or consumption.

A checklist, specifically prepared for the study, was used to guide the interviews with value chain actors. The input suppliers, mainly agro-veterinary shops were interviewed within the precincts of their shops whereas the producers and traders, mainly middlemen, were interviewed at the livestock markets. The processors, mainly represented by butchers were interviewed within the slaughter houses or slaughter slabs. The consumers were interviewed within the hotel. 

Data analysis

All data collected were entered in the computer using Microsoft Excel. The data were synthesized and summaries stored in the computer for further analysis.

Analysis of data was conducted by using the general linear model procedures of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS 1999) computer program. Descriptive statistics data were presented in graphs in Microsoft Excel 

Results and Discussion

A total of 13 districts were visited and their profiles in terms of area, human population and livestock (cattle, sheep and goat) are shown in Table 1.The densely human populated districts were those of Mombasa and Kajiado whereas the least populated were those of Loitokitok and Kinango. In terms of livestock numbers, Kajiado was leading for the three kinds of livestock. Kilindini and Mombasa districts had the least livestock population number possibly because the municipal council by-laws prohibiting the rearing of animals within the urban area were properly enforced.

Districts profiles 

Table 1. Profiles of the districts visited


Area (Km2)

Human population













































































Sources: District Livestock Production Annual Reports (DLPOs 2007)

Human population was based on National census of 1999. In terms of goats, the major production areas were those of Baringo, Garissa and Kajiado whereas sheep were popular in Kajiado, Narok and in Taita district. The mean cattle, goat and sheep numbers were 134,398, 245544 and 151793 respectively. There was no significant difference (P>0.05) in the numbers of goat and sheep in the districts sampled. However, there was significant difference (P<0.05) between the large ruminants, cattle, and the small ruminants (shoats) numbers in the sampled districts. Compared to small ruminants, the population of large ruminants in the study area was small. The SR are a major component of the pastoral and agro pastoral household’s economy (Juma et al 2010; Muriuki 2002).

Figure 1. Population of sheep and goat in the sampled regions

The reason why the livestock keepers of Kajiado, Narok, Taita and Loitokitok keep slightly more sheep than goats (Figure 1) is because the communities residing in the districts are mainly pastoralists who entirely subsist on them (MoLFD 2006; Kibiru 2007). The rest have more goats than sheep with Garissa, Baringo and Kinango farmers keeping almost twice as many goats as sheep. The population of sheep as compared to that of goats among the agropastoral communities of Kitui and Mutomo districts is almost negligible. This indicates that sheep does not play a significant role in the livelihoods of the people. The total number of goats (2,946,529) in the districts sampled constitutes about 30% of the entire national goat population of 10 million (FAO 2008). 

Players in the SRVC in Southern rangelands of Kenya 

The different players and their roles in the SRVC in the region are shown in the illustration below. The main players are: the SR producers’ i.e. individual producers or ranches; input suppliers i.e. agro veterinary and chemist shops, feed manufacturing and processing industries; supportive institutions i.e. some none governmental institutions (NGOs) such as DANIDA-Danish International Development Agency, operating in Taita Taveta district, District Agricultural Support System (DASS), GAA – German Agro Action operating in Kajiado district, KARI – Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, a government research body operating in most of the districts, Ministry of Livestock development, a government department and the focal point of livestock extension services in all districts; some religious organizations such as the catholic church whose support is provided by expert extension providers it employs; the middlemen i.e. livestock trade brokers who operate in all levels of the chain; abattoirs i.e. slaughter houses and slabs where killing and processing of SR animals is done. The major one is the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) whose major facilities are based in Nairobi and Mombasa; the butchers i.e. meat shops who are the main outlets of processed and non processed meat for the consumers; the consumers represented by individual households, small hotels, large hotel chains such as the tourist hotels, institutional consumers such as training institutes (eg GTI- government training institutes) and hospitals. It was evident from the findings that the middleman was a key player at all levels of the chain particularly in the marketing of SR and their products (Muriuki 2002).   

The Small Ruminant Value Chain structure in South Eastern Kenya

Figure 2. The small ruminant value chain in southern Kenya rangelands.
Markets and marketing 

The exploratory visits by the research teams identified the respective market structures, sales volumes, prices offered, market destinations, marketing days, and slaughter volumes as shown in Table 2. The data was used to determine the chain players, marketing channels, conduct and performance of the small ruminant value chain. The chain players were represented by input suppliers, producers, traders, butchers and consumers. The input suppliers and processors were represented by agro veterinary shops and slaughterhouse/slaughter slabs respectively. The traders were mainly intermediary traders (middlemen) whereas the consumers were mainly hotel chains. In terms of marketing channels, there were primary markets, secondary markets, tertiary markets and terminal markets. The primary markets were mainly at the grass roots while the terminal markets were mainly in the major urban centres namely Nairobi and Mombasa. However, in two sites, Taveta and Taita it was observed that there were no clearly designated primary market yards where farmers could sell their livestock. In the two sites, the traders would buy the animals directly from the farm. In cases where the channel was fully functional, the selling price of animals at whatever point of the channel was dependent on the buying price of animals at the particular market where sale takes place and the type of animal. The determination of price by the traders was based on ocular observation and not by weight. However, the traders assessed prices based on the availability of information. Lack of market information was seen as a way by which for example, the secondary traders could exploit the primary traders or producer deep in the interior sites.  

Table 2. Selected shoats markets in the districts visited (sources, volumes & destinations)  July 2008


Market (source)

Average sale volumes / market day















Bomet ,




Wednesdays, Sundays






Wednesdays, Saturdays










































Ewaso Kedong





Mondays, Thursdays






Mondays, Saturdays






Mondays, Saturdays






Mondays, Saturdays































Mombasa, Nairobi














Nanyuki, Nakuru












































Mombasa, Nairobi














Mombasa, Nairobi









Sources: Narok District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Loitokitok District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Kajiado District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Kajiado District Livestock Marketing Annual Report (DLMO, 2007

As presented in Table 2, it was evident that Narok and Baringo districts had the busiest small ruminant markets in as far as sales volumes were concerned. Ewasonyiro and Suswa markets were the busiest in Narok district, while Marigat was the largest market in Baringo district. There were more sheep than goats in Narok district possibly because of the climate and the availability of feed, mainly in form of wheat and barley straw from numerous wheat and barley farms in the district. Goats were more than sheep in Kajiado, Baringo and Kitui districts possibly because of the shrub and browse vegetation that is favorable for goat production. Baringo district had a disproportionately higher number of goats than sheep. In Loitoktok, sheep and goats were almost of similar proportions. The markets were operating during specific days in a week. Although there could be several markets operating during same day in a given district, it was observed that each district had at least one specific day when the marketing operations were prominent, others days being peripheral. However, in most of the sites, the major destinations for shoats purchased in district markets were either Nairobi and or Mombasa. Nevertheless, these terminal markets are far apart but they still form the major consumption areas. The implication of this is that transportation is a major issue in the marketing of shoats in Kenya (Juma et al 2010). Transportation increases marketing transactions costs (Agrisystems 2004) and create inefficiency in the value chain. It has also been reported (Agriconsortium 2003) that majority of shoats marketed in big urban areas originate from north-eastern Kenya. Over 99% of the shoats from north-eastern Kenya are slaughtered in Kiamako in Nairobi. On the other hand, most shoats from the south, particularly Narok and Kajiado are sold and slaughtered at Kiserian and Dagoretti slaughter houses.

Figure 3. Average nominal prices for live sheep and goats in selected markets in Kenya.

Sources:  Narok District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Loitoktok District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Kajiado District Livestock Production Annual Report (DLPO, 2007), Kajiado District Livestock Marketing Annual Report (DLMO, 2007)

Average nominal prices for sheep and goats marketed in selected markets are shown in Figure 3. In the southern rangelands districts of Narok, Kajiado and Loitoktok, the average prices for sheep were slightly higher than those for goats. This could be attributed to various factors ranging from higher demand for sheep than for goats leading to lower supply of sheep to changing consumption habits of roast meat (nyama choma) consumers. Generally, prices for the shoats were highest in Narok, followed by Kajiado and then Loitoktok. In the central and northern rangelands, Baringo, Kitui, Mutomo and Garissa districts, goat prices were much higher than those of sheep. Comparatively, the prices of goats were higher in the central and northern rangelands than those in the southern rangelands. This indicates that goats from these districts are highly demanded and at the same time their supply could be limited. Prices for both sheep and goats were highest in Nairobi district. In many cases, it was observed that farm gate prices (or prices at the primary market) were relatively low. This was attributed to lack of commercial orientation by producers, limited price information and sometimes competition from imported stock (Agriconsortium 2003). It was also observed that weighing scales and classifications of grades and standards were not used in the marketing of livestock in the markets. Middlemen (traders and brokers) offered prices on the basis of private treaty.  They visually inspected the animals, and negotiated and haggled over the prices until consensus was arrived at. This method was quite subjective and hence favorable to middlemen at the expensive of producers (Agrisystems 2004). In order to correct the inequality, certain key interventions need to be addressed. Among them, focus should be directed on marketing issues and improvement in infrastructure at the production level. Elevation of the status of certain key focal rural markets to serve as secondary markets for collection point can go along way in enhancing the efficiency of the chain. The provision of certain factors such as better water supply, better roads and more grazing ground around the markets are important stimulus. Further, and of importance to both the producers and input suppliers of the value chain, improvement of transport infrastructure would reduce operational costs of operating business and thus encourage the entry of potential traders who can help push up prices through price competition with a resultant enhancement of demand.

Trends in marketing of sheep and goats products

Figure 4. Trends of livestock slaughter figures in Kajiado district, 2003-2007 (Source: 2007 MOLD Kajiado District Annual Report, 2007)

It was observed that over the years, more sheep than goats were preferred by consumers (Figure 4). For instance, in the period 2003 to 2006, more than twice as many sheep than goats had been slaughtered

in Kajiado district. For the period under review, the delivery of animals for slaughter kept on fluctuating, however, the delivery of shoats was lower than that of sheep but higher than that of cattle. The fluctuation could be attributed to changes in climatic conditions resulting to changes in seasonal supply of animals (Figure 5 and 6).

Figure 5. Delivered and slaughter livestock in Kiserian abbattoir in Kajiado district, January-July 2008 (Source: Survey data, July 2008)

Monthly slaughter volumes (Figure 4) in Taveta district showed that there were more cattle supplied in the months of February and March than any other livestock species.  However, in the months of April to June, supply of goats was the highest among the livestock species slaughtered. This could be attributed to weather conditions. The months of February and March are characteristically dry and more cattle were delivered for slaughter in an effort of destocking as a result of shortage of natural feed supply. During the wet season, more goats were delivered retaining cattle for restocking and breeding.  However, the supply trend for sheep was quite stable over the months.

Figure 6. Monthly slaughter volumes per livestock species for Taveta slaughter houses
/ slabs, Feb-June 2008 (Source: DLPO 2007 Annual report – Taveta district)
Constraints and Interventions in the small ruminant value chain  

In the various districts visited, consumers and processors in the SR industry enumerated a number of constraints as listed in Table 3. However, the processors were experiencing much more problems than the consumers. Majority of the interviewees at the level of processors reported low retail price of SR meat as the major problem they encountered. This was a limiting factor in their operations since it resulted in low profit margins. Majority of the processors reported over competition for customers from colleagues as a problem too. Some processor would even outdo their competitors by offering free gifts such as soft drinks to would be customers. Occurrence of SR diseases was a problem of greater concern to the butchers dealing with SR meat. Such diseases would lead to emaciation of animals whereby meat from such animals would not be appealing to potential consumers. Among the diseases noted with concern by most of the interviewees were Trypanosomosis, Rift valley fever and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP). At times such diseases would cause death of purchased animal before slaughter leading to a loss to the processor. Occasionally, some disease conditions would cause the condemnation of certain organs of SR at slaughter, again a case of loss on the processor. The outbreak of notifiable diseases such as CCPP, would lead to the closure of formal livestock markets (Kibiru 2007). Such measures would impact negatively on the lives of stakeholders in the SR industry. The occurrence of the notifiable diseases also affects the export market either of the live SR animals or their products. Majority of importers would shun SR products from the country whenever there was an outbreak of disease condition such as Rift valley fever. 

The issue of middlemen and brokers in the marketing mix of SR animals was noted as of concern to the processors. These market players were noted to benefit at the expense of the producer and the processors (Juma et al 2010). This was a major problem in most parts of the country particularly because in most instances prices of the live SR animal was determined based on visual appraisal and not on the live weight basis.  

High overhead costs due to among others high electricity tariffs and other levies were noted to be a hindrance in processing operations for SR products. Such costs would often force the processors to raise the retail price of SR meat; however, price hikes would impact negatively to the business since it would result to depressed demand for the SR meat particularly at periods when purchasing power of most consumers was heavily eroded. At times the prohibitive tariffs and other related costs would lead to disconnections of water supply to the slaughter slabs. Such measures would result to reduction of the hygiene standards of the operation and eventually to the meat products.  

Table 3. Constraints and Interventions (Processors-Butchers and consumers)


Resource person





1.       Mortality of purchased goat before slaughter and condemnation of either whole goat or parts.

2.       Low market prices for hides

3.       inadequate market price information

4.       Disease outbreak leads to closure of livestock markets (eg FMD and rift valley fever.

-Improve infrastructure

-Increased access to market information

- Regular disease control practices


Kizingo butchery

1.       High cost of electricity – the recent increase of electricity charges has negatively affected the business because most of the operations are driven by electricity.

2.       High costs of fuels- especially transportation

3.       Competition from other dealers

4.       Demand from tourists hotel declined after post election violence

5.       Defaulters are a nuisance to the live of the business

6.       Diseases especially CCPP

7.       Substandard drugs available on the market

8.       Vaccines unavailability

9.       Wildlife/livestock conflict – predation and destruction of property without equivalent compensation

- Review electricity tariffs

-Promote product differentiation

-Better disease control practices

-Enforce law s on the operation of drugs and poisons

-Decentralize distribution of vaccines

-Reduce wildlife livestock conflicts



         Prices are determined by private treaty.  Brokers negotiate prices with the buyers and the producers. The brokers get commissions from traders / buyers and get the difference from low prices they pay the producers and the inflated prices paid by the buyers.

         The brokers use live weights which are estimated visually.  This system is not appreciated, and producers are demanding the introduction of weigh bridges.  The buying system is different from the selling system.  Buying visually while selling is by weight; hence producers are exploited.

         It should also be noted that even if the price of animals go down, the price of meat does not reduce.

- Promote the establishment of common marketing groups

-Provide weighing facilities at designated marketing yards


KMC-Livestock manager

    According to KMC, Markets for the small ruminant meat are quite segmented. For example, exports markets have specific requirements. Arab countries prefer small carcass weights of 6-10kgs (40-50% of live weights). Thus tender and not much fat meats are liked. Even beef, Arabs prefer bulls rather than steers. However, the bulls must be less than 3 years old with little fat distribution.

    Europeans prefer lambs of 15-21kgs, fatty lambs.  Hence lamb has niche markets at the hotels at the Coast especially for the European clientele.  There is high preference of exotic sheep breeds (Merino) because their fats decompose easily.  Black Persian sheep has lots of fat in the subcutaneous, while Merino’s fats are well marbled.

-Market is good for local breed of SR

-Develop production guide lines targeting the potential Arab markets.


-Farmers keeping Merino and other fat rump breeds of sheep have a ready market of their sheep in these markets.

-KMC is also planning to tap the potential export market of Black Persian and Red Maasai sheep to Saudi Arabia and Dubai


Thika slaughterhouse Butchers Self Help  Group (SHG)


Low retail prices in Thika Town. For example, 1Kg of beef going for an average of 140/= compared to 160/= in Nairobi.  They also noted with concern that few animals are exported by Kenya which is denying the country the much needed foreign exchange.

-Encourage processors to venture into new markets where prices are better.

-Provide information on livestock export trade to willing entrepreneurs


Fine breeze butchery

-Lack/shortage of water in the slaughter house

-Emaciated carcass

-Competition for customers


-Poor Quality of animals

-High cost of living


-Improve on infrastructure

-Proper disease control procedures

-Develop/enforce guidelines on hygiene practices on slaughter house practices



Butcher at Kikopey  eatery

The main problem indicated by the butchery attendants was the stiff competition from each other for customers. The butcheries have their workers competing for any motorist stopping at the site.

-The use of an incentive like a free soda for the driver is used to attract the customers.

Constraints in small ruminant value chain as perceived by extension staff in selected districts of ASAL  

CCPP in small ruminant is the most common disease of economic importance in the sampled districts. Other diseases include helminthiasis (intestinal worms, liver-flukes and other liver-borne parasites), sheep and goat pox, foot-rot, trypanosomosis, orf, heartwater and skin infections (Kibiru 2007). Management of the diseases was through regular de-worming and use of antibiotic drugs. Inaccessibility of vaccines for immunization of small ruminant against common viral diseases was said to contribute to high mortalities across the sampled districts.  


The marketing system of the small ruminant is disorganized since there are no marketing yards as well as lack of marketing associations/groups in major districts visited. The presence of organized markets leads to better prices of animals since buyers and sellers are exposed on the same conditions and therefore a better bargaining on the part of the seller (Ahuya et al 2005).  


The trend of small ruminant in most districts was reported to be on a decline due to drought and famine. The main breeds of meat goats in the district visited were the Galla, the small east Africa Goat (SEAG) and their crosses. German alpine, torgenburg and their crosses were reared for dairy (Ahuya et al 2005). Main sheep breeds were Dorper, blackhead-persian, the red Maasai and their crosses. The major stock routes for Galla goats were: Garsen-Galana-Bachuma- Mombasa/Nairobi while for Dorper sheep they were Garsen-Galana-Bachuma- Mombasa/Nairobi and Laikipia- Nairobi or Taveta- Nairobi/Mombasa. The constraints on breeding can be solved by developing appropriate breeding guidelines targeting specific products for specific market outlets. 


Extension staff across a number of districts visited reported that they had partnered with various development agencies to develop technologies to alleviate problems of SR value chain. For instance, through Kenya Agricultural Productivity Programme (KAPAP), a project funded by World Bank, an initiative in the formation of common interest groups (CIGs) on the promotion of SR breeds and management practices was established. In addition, National Agricultural and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP) and District Agricultural Support System (DASS) were said to be involved in Capacity building of farmers on the management and marketing of SR. 


Service delivery by extension personnel demands availability of adequate financial, capital and physical resources which were said to be missing in most districts visited. Additionally, inadequate extension staff was a hindrance to dissemination of technologies and service delivery (Ahuya et al 2005). Limited means of transport and financial resources to maintain few vehicles and motorcycles contributed to poor dissemination of SR technologies. Better resource allocation was said to be urgent. 

Table 4. Perception of district extension staff on the constraints, coping strategies and possible solutions in small ruminant industry in ASAL




      Lack of organized marketing system

      Inadequate facilitation for extension staff to disseminate extension technologies 

      Frequent outbreak of CCPP through lack of enforcement of quarantine policy

      Affordability and accessibility of vaccines 

      Inadequate SR management skill and market information

      Poor breeds

      Inadequate quality pasture


      Poor prices

      Bureaucracy on the export market     too complicated

      High production costs

      Poor feed quality and quantity


      Poor market prices

      Inappropriate breed

      Inadequate pasture quality and quantity

      Overflow of both disposal and drainage pits at the slaughter slabs

      Inadequate water supply at the slaughter slab


      Livestock diseases – common diseases are CCPP, ordinary pneumonias and helminthiasis

      No organized livestock market system in the district

      Inadequate breeding stock which has resulted into inbreeding

      inadequate extension personnel to disseminate technologies and information



      Low adoption of extension

      Shortage of extension staff –

      Poor livestock market system –

      Lack of slaughter slab to

      Poor quality and quantity of forage

      Livestock disease

      Low management skills-


      High cost of electricity –

      High costs of fuels- especially transportation

      Competition from other dealers

      Demand from tourists hotel declined after post election violence

      Defaulters are a nuisance to the live of the business

      Diseases especially CCPP

      Substandard drugs available on the market

      Vaccines unavailability

      Wildlife/livestock conflict


      Poor quality of small ruminant


      poor husbandry

      Lack of ready markets.

       Lack of organized market

      Poor prices and farmers exploited by brokers

     Lack of standardized weigh bridges. 


      Brokers induce high prices and stifle free market transactions.

      Terms of business – butchers buy on credit and default in paying the farmers.

      Cross-border animals from Tanzania flood the markets

      Conditions of delivery of animals to KMC complicated and expensive for producers

       Farmers lack of market information

       Lack of weighing bridges leads to underestimates of animal weights rendering huge losses to


      Many cesses and levies – which are in many cases arbitrary, not fixed for each council.


      Inexistent structures in the market

      Poor management skills of SR


      Non strategic marketing which leads to exploitation of farmers by middle


      Poor livestock market system – leading to farmers exploited by middle men

      Lack of slaughter slab to address the processing of SR especially when individuals want slaughter a goat at their convenience


              Inadequate funds

              Vastness of the district


              Falling apart of traditional of culture of livestock management

              Weak farmer-extension-research linkage

              Predator menace especially hyenas and lions


              Inadequate pastures caused environmental degradation

              Refugee problem

              Few livestock based industries in the district                                    

              No research institutes in the district


              Poor breeds especially for milk production and growth rate.


              High poverty levels

              Resource use conflict that threaten pastoral food security

              Inadequate credit facility

              Low per capita productivity

              Inadequate business skills

              Increasing unrestricted livestock movement that makes control and management of diseases difficult.



Funding support by the Kenya Arid and Semi Arid Lands (KASAL) research program is greatly acknowledged. Further, great appreciation also goes to all stakeholders support especially in sharing personal information with the team of researchers. 


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Received 10 January 2012; Accepted 23 August 2012; Published 4 January 2013

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