Livestock Research for Rural Development 25 (12) 2013 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Participatory assessment of institutional and organisational challenges confronting dairy goat management in Kenya

R C Bett*, B O Bebe**, I S Kosgey***, A K Kahi*** and K J Peters*

* Department of Animal Breeding in the Tropics and Sub-Tropics, Humboldt University of Berlin, Philippstraße 13, 10115 Berlin, Germany
** Animal Production Systems Group,
*** Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University, P. O. Box 536, Egerton 20115, Kenya
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), P.O. Box 30709, Nairobi 00100, Kenya


This empirical investigation of a range of actors, organisations and drivers influencing dairy goat management in Kenya applied the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework (IAD) as the analytical tool. Information was elicited using baseline survey involving questionnaires and participatory appraisal exercises. Venn diagrams and focus group discussions were used to map out key institutions and organisations in assessing their importance and links with the economic development of dairy goat producing households (and with each other). Farmer’s participation, meetings, farm visits and trainings on various dairy goat activities varied among projects and regions studied. Different stakeholder groups in the public, participatory and private sectors were identified and their relative rankings in the three regions quantified.

The private sector was poorly represented while the majority of the stakeholders in the participatory sector were ranked higher and had a strong affiliation with the economic development of dairy goat keepers. Weaknesses were observed on the policy and legal status, the institutional and organisational arrangements in the dairy goat projects and the entire sector. The government needs to play a facilitative and regulatory role while putting in place and implementing strong and supportive policies and enacting legislation to safeguard the policy changes. Collective action by farmers is the preferred organisational option, but it has to be institutionalised, technically and policy-wise supported and networked with key stakeholders while clearly defining their respective roles. Informal milk markets need to be formalised and efficient market linkages along value chain established to improve on the economic development of dairy goat keepers, and act as an incentive for their participation and commitment. 

Keywords: institutions and organisations, marketing, milk production, stakeholders, training


In Kenya, the dairy goat sub-sector picked up in the 1980s and 90s when several development agencies in collaboration with the government, non-profit organisations and the private sector introduced dairy goat projects into the smallholder farms (MLFD, 2006b). Dairy goat keepers were actively engaged with development agencies at different phases of the projects’ cycle through participation, training and access to extension services and breeding stock. To enhance these complementary components of genetic improvement, farmer groups and famers/breeders associations were implemented. The former was established towards the end of the project phase to oversee breed improvement activities while retaining farmer groups as the main stakeholders.  

DFID (2004) argues that appropriate institutions and stakeholders that are committed to honour dairy goat development activities need to be established prior to any intervention activity for continuity and flow. This means that the role of all stakeholders in the sector (goat keepers, farmer organisations, the government and the private) over time must be made clear. A study by Martin and Sherrington (1997) also shows that participatory methods involving capacity building in local organisations and groups, and community-based approaches are very complex and a wide range of factors can make a difference to farmers’ ability to participate. The objective of this study was to assess the institutions and organisations in the dairy goat sector in Kenya, particularly on farmers participating in main dairy goat projects, and to determine the potential those institutions and organisations have to assist (or hinder) further development of the sub-sector.  

The Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework 

The most explicit description of the IAD framework appears in (Ostrom et al 1994). The framework is an appropriate analytical tool for this study because it is multidisciplinary in approach, presents a practical method for dealing with multiple levels of analysis, and allows for the investigation of configural or interactive processes (Ostrom et al 2002). It is considered especially relevant for this research given the wide range of actors, organisations and drivers affecting the dairy goat management in Kenya. Figure 1 illustrates the general elements of the framework.

Figure 1: The general elements of institutional analysis

Briefly, the action arena is the direct unit of analysis and focus of investigation. The context provides the initial condition that structures the efforts to achieve outcomes. The context includes the physical conditions, rules in use and the attributes of the farmers. It is within the context that a researcher can identify the action arena and its incentives. Actors (an individual or a group having regularised way of making decisions) act based on perceived incentives and with their activities, generating patterns of outcomes, organisations and institutions (Matsaert 2002). Institutions are “rules of the game” in a society, ranging from the formal legislation, guidelines, informal agreements and unwritten rules (Leach et al 1999), while organisations are “players and structures” operating under the rules (DFID 2003). Institutional analysis has been widely embraced in the field of natural resource management (Matsaert 2002; Strehlow 2006; Tompkins et al 2002) and participatory assessment of livestock systems (Steglich 2006). It has facilitated the understanding of how local communities manage resources and how improvements in management of livestock breeding systems can be initiated.  

The Kenyan dairy goat sector 
Legislative framework 

The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD) formed in 2003 has the overall responsibility of creating the legal framework for the sustainable development of the livestock and fisheries industry (MLFD 2006b). It also provides support services that enhance productivity, value addition and market access for the sub-sector products.  

While several Acts of Parliament affect the livestock and fisheries sector in Kenya (KLR 2007), three of these have a major impact on livestock. The Dairy Industry Act (CAP 336) provides for the improvement and control of the dairy industry and its products. This Act gives the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) powers to regulate, organize and develop an efficient dairy industry in the country (KLR 2007). The Veterinary Surgeons Act (CAP 366) gives the Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB) powers to regulate training and the delivery of veterinary services, and to register and license veterinary surgeons and practitioners. This excludes registration or licensing of Para-veterinarians. The Kenya Meat Commission Act (CAP 363) is responsible for purchasing and slaughtering cattle and small stock. Therefore, it is charged with the task of processing meat by-products, freezing, canning and storing meat foods for both domestic and export markets. 


An important facet in institutional analysis is the identification of actors and organisations. The decision-making structures in an economy or community can be divided into three sectors; the public sector (government and administration), the participatory sector (voluntary organisations and co-operatives) and the private sector (service organisations and private businesses) (Uphoff 1992). Table 1 presents an overview of such organisations in the dairy goat breeding industry and their roles. 

Table 1: Organisations of particular relevance to the dairy goat sector



Competitive advantage

Public sector

Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD)

–Policy responsibility

–Regulatory and quality control

–Manpower development

Setting the agenda to which the livestock sector is driven


Research organisations (KARI and Agricultural universities)

–Livestock research to improve productivity

–Development of technical packages

Research capacity


Kenya Dairy Board (KDB)


–Promotion, co-ordination and formulation of dairy policy,

– Regulatory and inspectorate services for the dairy sector,

– Research and development of private enterprise.

Powers to make regulations


Kenya Veterinary Board (KVB)

–Delivery of veterinary services

–Training, register and licence veterinary practitioners

Powers to make regulations

Participatory sector

Kenya Stud Book (KSB)a

–Facilitates animal breeding services i.e., pedigree recording

Collaboration with breed societies


Development agencies

–Give financial and technical support

Financial and technical resources


Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s)

–Extension services and micro finance to complement the government effort

–Provide tools, equipment and support operations

Financial resources


Farmers/ Breeders Associations

–Extension and community mobilization

–Complement government effort

Better linkages at grassroots level


Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC)

–Process and market milk (cows)

Goats milk substitutes cows milk for home consumption

Private sector

Financial organisations

–Improve access to affordable credit

Financial resources and investment management

Source: KLR (2007), MLFD (2006a) and MLFD (2007)

Study sites and procedure 

This study was carried out in Central, Rift valley, Coast and Nyanza administrative provinces of Kenya. The most appropriate data collection and analysis methods, chosen following the guidelines of Marsland et al (2001) and Marsland et al (2002), was administered in a sequence of survey phases with three main tools (Table 2). 

Table 2: Survey instruments, sample structure and size

Survey instruments

Sample structure and size


Location (s)

Household survey

311 dairy goat keepers

DGAK (178)

Nyeri and Thika districts

Central province




Nakuru district

Rift Valley province



HPI (102)

Bomet, Taita, Kwale, Siaya, Homabay, Nyando, Migori, and Suba districts

Rift Valley, Coast and Nyanza provinces

Focus group discussions

Groups of 10-20 dairy goat keepers in each area

All the three projects

Bomet, Nakuru, Nyeri and Thika

Central and Rift Valley provinces

Institutional analyses

Groups of 5-15  representatives from the stakeholder groups (Farmers, Technical assistants, Extension officers, Research institution staff, National steering committees and Technical manager)

All the three projects

Nyeri, Bomet and Nakuru

Central and Rift Valley provinces

#HPI, Heifer project International; HEL-EUCDGP, Higher Education Links-Egerton University Community Dairy Goats Project; DGAK, Dairy Goats Association of Kenya

Firstly, household survey in the form of questionnaires was used to elicit information on the existing breeding structures, farmers’ participation, frequency of meetings, farm visits and trainings. The survey was conducted from among 311 dairy goat keepers using stratified random sampling procedures in all the three projects. Sample procedures and rigorous analysis on information from this set of data is presented elsewhere (Bett et al 2009a), and, therefore, will not be repeated here. 

Secondly, focus group discussions were used to elicit information within the dairy goat projects on the existing rules and regulations, the decision-making bodies, methods of monitoring and enforcing participation and the actual participation rates. Discussions were organised once in the four regions after the household survey (Table 2) and guided by the semi-structured questionnaires. Participants were mainly the dairy goat keepers in each of the areas. 

Thirdly, a participatory institutional analysis approach using Venn/Institutional diagrams was carried out to identify key institutions and organisations, assess their importance and their links with the client group (and with each other). The client group (particular subject) in this case was the economic development of dairy goat production households. This was a centre of interest because people in different communities perceive differently the influence of stakeholder groups and organizations on the community itself e.g., according to income, education, location. Only the influence on their own financial situation is perceived equal, to some extent (Strehlow 2006). This method was important for;

Meetings were arranged with different stakeholder groups in different regions (Table 2). The purpose and the use of the methodology was explained to the participants. Participants were first asked to list the stakeholders in the dairy goat sector and then prioritise through ranking techniques, from one to ten, with the least number representing the stakeholder with the greatest influence on the economic development of dairy goat production households. Stakeholders with the same number were considered to be of equal influence. The name of each organisation was written on a circular piece of paper and the subject economic development of dairy goat production households placed in the middle of the large piece of card. Three sizes of circles were labelled with stakeholders in relation to rank i.e., large circles of papers were used for most important organisations (from rank 1 to 3), medium circles for important (from rank 4 to 7) and smaller for less important ones (from rank 8 to 10). The participants were asked to position the circles according to their influence or relationship on the economic development of the family households and on each other through its relative distance from the middle or through overlapping. Thereafter, the Venn diagram object was the subject of discussion on the role and influence of stakeholder groups on the livelihoods of dairy goat producing households and the entire dairy goat sector.  

Data analysis 

Key data sources were primary data (interviews and focus group discussions) and secondary data (documents and reports). Quantitative data gathered from the institutional questionnaire was cross-referenced with the data on the household survey and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistical procedures. For qualitative data analysis, software ATLAS.ti was used ( The results for the latter appear as reference points e.g., (1:1), (1:2) in the text, otherwise see appendix A for detailed explanations. 


Farmer’s participation  

There were substantial differences in the participation of farmers at different projects and breeder categories (Table 3).  Despite a considerable number of years of farmer’s participation in some of the projects, elite breeder groups supplying improved/pure breeding stock to the farmer/breeder association had not yet emerged. The contrasting situations between the projects show that more than 85% of farmers in the Heifer project International (HPI) and Higher Education Links-Egerton University Community Dairy Goats Project (HEL-EUCDGP) were active in the multiplier sector while a majority (68%) of farmers in the Dairy Goats Association of Kenya (DGAK) were commercial producers. It is also evident that membership or participation in other groups not necessarily associated with the dairy goat projects was unrestricted. 

Table 3: Quantitative summaries on farmers’ participation and meetings, farm visits and trainings


Level/ Range












Breeder category

Elite breeders

2% (3)









Commercial producers

68% (107)



Years of participation

0-15 years




Number of groups

1-5 groups

2.0 ± 0.98

2.2 ± 0.88

1.8 ± 0.89






Frequency of meetings

Last 12 months

3.9 ± 3.96

3.8 ± 3.23

5.3 ± 4.50

Farm visits and trainings





Frequency of farm visits

Last 12 months

7.2 ± 2.72

7.3 ± 3.02

9.2 ± 1.87

Frequency  of trainings

Last 12 months

2.5 ± 1.51

2.7 ± 1.75

2.3 ± 1.68

Training venues

Own field





Project office





Designated areas





Messages repetitive





Information not timely





Information irrelevant




Organisations responsible






Farmers/ Breeders Associations





Non-Governmental Organisation





Agricultural Universities




#HPI, Heifer project International; HEL-EUCDGP, Higher Education Links-Egerton University Community Dairy Goats Project; DGAK, Dairy Goats Association of Kenya.

N/B: The number of responses are in parenthesis

Meetings, farm visits and trainings 

In the last 12 months prior to the study period, the frequency of farm visits was overriding the occurrence of meetings and trainings (Table 3). Farm visits, meetings and trainings occurred more than seven times, twice and four times, respectively, in the three projects. Farmers own fields or project offices or designated areas served as important venues for such trainings. The end users felt that the training sessions conducted primarily by the farmers/breeders associations in DGAK and HPI, and agricultural universities in HEL-EUCDGP were deficient i.e., messages being repetitive, untimely and irrelevant information. 

Actors and objectives 

The following organisations (Table 4) in the dairy goat sector represent the findings from the institutional analysis conducted in connection with the Venn diagrams. Different stakeholder groups in the public, participatory and private sectors were identified and their relative rankings in the three regions quantified. The private sector was the least represented with only one stakeholder while the participatory sector had the majority. Non-farmer group households were ranked first by participants in all the three regions followed by the farmer groups. Research organisations, banks and Kenya Stud Book (KSB) had the lowest ranks in most locations. 

Table 4: Stakeholders and their relative influence (ranking 1 to 10) on the local dairy goat sector determined by participants from the three regions









Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD)





Research organisations (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, KARI and Agricultural Universities)





Social services





Kenya Stud Book (KSB)





Development Agencies





Non-Governmental Organisation (s) -NGO’s





Farmers/ Breeders Associations





Farmer groups





Non-farmer group households














The public sector 

Three government organisations were active in this sector (Table 5). The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MLFD) was responsible for provision of extension and veterinary services. However, it was revealed that dairy goat keepers rely primarily on the delivery of such services through the projects “technical assistants”. Training of own assistants was among the broadly based strategies undertaken by the projects to complement the role of the ministry and to minimise scarcity in provision of such services and their relative effects.  

The discussions once again revealed hardly any important roles of research organisations in the dairy goat sector (Table 5). The agricultural university (Egerton) was active in breeding and provision of breeding stock to farmers in one location with the HEL-EUCDGP project. Nonetheless, scarcity of breeding stock remained a major problem in all the study areas.  

The registrar of societies (Social Services) was responsible for the registration of the farmers associations and the farmer groups. This means that all the associations and farmers groups in the projects were legally operating and duly recognised as societies. 

Table 5: Stakeholders in the public and private sector and their roles and functions in the dairy goat sector


Task and functions##






-Extension service provision (3:1)

-Inadequate extension services and  animal health care services (3:1)


-Veterinary and animal health care service provision (3:1)

-Disease challenges still pronounced  (3.2)



-Both services highly sought out from the project technical assistants (2:2, 2:4, 2:7 and 3:1)

Research organisations

-Dairy goat breeding and provision of breeding animals to farmers (4:2)

- Scarcity of breeding stock (3:2)

Social Services

-Registration and control of societies i.e., farmers/breeders associations and farmer groups (1:9)








-Lack of funds and credit facilities (3:3 and 3:4 )

#MLFD, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development

##See the Appendix A for the reference points (e.g., 3:1, 3:2 etc) and detailed information

The private sector 

The banks were the only active stakeholders in the private sector responsible for saving farmer’s money. Lack of credit facilities and funds were part of the problems limiting the development of the dairy goat enterprises (Table 5). 

The participatory sector 

Six stakeholders were active in this sector (Table 6). Registration of and provision of certificates for the registered dairy goats was done by the Kenya Stud Book (KSB). The role of KSB in the farm households was however hampered by farmers’ lack of knowledge and money to pay for the services. The main role of the Development Agencies and NGO’s to the dairy goat sector identified was supply of breeding stock to the projects. 

Table 6: Stakeholders in the participatory sector and their roles and functions in the dairy goat sector


Task and functions##



-Registration of dairy goats (4:1)

- Dairy goat registration was poor due to lack of knowledge and money (3:4)


-Issue certificates for registered goats (2:4)


Development Agencies

- Supply breeding stock (2:1 and 6:4)

- Scarcity of breeding stock (3:2)


- Supply breeding stock (2:1 and 6.4)

- Scarcity of breeding stock (3:2)

Farmers/ Breeders Associations

-Extension and animal health services provision (3:1)

- Through technical assistants (2:2, 2:4, 2:7 and 3:1)


-Provision of marketing services (1:1)

-Lack of markets for goat products (3:2 and 3:3)


-Organisation of the buck rotation scheme (1:5, 2:1, 2:2, 2:3, 2:4: 2:5, 3:5 and 3:6)

- Apart from the project’s, other breeding bucks were not allowed for use (1:5)



-Buck rotation plan used (2:2 and 2:3)



-Weaknesses in the scheme (2:5 and 3:6)



-Farmers not willing to be buck-keepers (3:6)



- Buck-keepers pay for buck services (3:6)



- Low conception rates, overdue rotation and lack of consultation for lease fee charges (3:5)


-Organisation of the pass on scheme (6:1, 6:3, 6:4, 6:5 and 6:6)

-Successive delivery of male kids a problem to the scheme (6:3)



-Slow progress in the scheme (6:4)



-High expectations not met by the projects (6:5)



-Lack of selection, breed identification and discriminate crossing of exotic breeds (6:6)



-Farmers are willing to pay for the goats (6:7)


-Monitoring the progress of dairy goat activities (5:3)

-Reports submitted on monthly basis (5:3)


-Organisation of meetings and trainings (5:1, 5:2 and 5:4)

-Lack of trainings (5:4)

-The associations conduct annual stakeholders general meetings (5:1)

Farmer groups

-Monitoring and enforcing participation (5:2)

-Rules and regulations are specific to each farmer group (1:2 and 5:2)


-Distribution of breeding stock in the pass on scheme(6:1 and 6:2)

-methods used still a barrier to poor and landless (6:2)


-Representative signs buck lease contract (1:6)

- Requires individuals’ registration to be a member. Formations of farmer groups take into consideration close proximity and gender (1:10)

Non-farmer group households

-Provide market for goats milk (1:11)

- Lack of milk markets (3:2 and 3:3)

#NGO’s, Non-Governmental Organisation (s); KSB, Kenya Stud Book.

##See the Appendix A for the reference points (e.g., 4:1, 4:2 etc) and detailed information

The farmers/ breeders association and farmer groups were responsible for the majority of the roles in the dairy goat sector. Besides provision of extension, animal health care and markets services, the associations also play a crucial role in organisation of buck rotation schemes, “pass on” schemes (with the exception of the DGAK), meetings and trainings (Table 6). In addition, the associations monitor the progress of the dairy goat activities. Organisation of the buck rotation was acknowledged as one of the major services provided by the associations in all the study areas. However, the buck rotation scheme faces an array of obstacles;

Both the associations and farmer groups have rules and regulations that assist the dairy goat keepers to govern the two organisations (Table 6). No evidence was found on the overall policy/government involvement for setting up the statuary rules for associations and farmer groups and their management. It was revealed that farmers groups were autonomous participating entities in the associations with each group defining its own constitution guided by the respective projects. Each group monitors and enforce participation of its own members in the activities of the projects. Their representatives form the link between the associations and the farmer groups. On the other hand, non-farmer group households (mainly neighbours) closely interacted with those keeping dairy goats through purchase and consumption of goat milk, due to lack of markets and distinct marketing channels for goat products.  

Stakeholder interactions 

The relationship between various stakeholders and the dairy goat producing households in the three locations are illustrated in Figures 2, 3 and 4. On this basis, assertions regarding the intensity of interaction and relationships were made depending on the arrangement of stakeholders and the positions of the circles. Overlapping circles indicated joint influence/decisions and great distances between circles a sign for a lack of stakeholder participation in influencing/decision-making.  

In Nyeri region (Figure 2), the non-farmer group households, farmer groups and breeders associations have the strongest influence and inter-linkages on the dairy goat sector. They also occupy key positions in the diagram, implying that a strong affiliation exists between these stakeholders and the economic development of dairy goat keepers. The diagram also revealed weak and distant inter-linkages with the ministry of livestock, development agencies and the KSB. Research organisations were considered weak and distant to goat breeders, separated from the institutional network and had virtually no relationships

Figure 2: Venn diagram of Dairy Goats Association of Kenya (DGAK) - Nyeri region representing stakeholder groups, their influence on the local dairy goat sector and relationships between them.

A pattern similar to that in Nyeri was observed in Nakuru region (Figure 3). Non-farmer group households, farmer groups and farmers associations have the strongest influence and inter-linkage with the sector. Differences noted in the diagram were the strong relationship between the farmers association and research organisations and the absence of KSB and development agencies.

Figure 3: Venn diagram of Higher Education Links-Egerton University Community Dairy Goats Project, (HEL-EUCDGP) - Nakuru region representing stakeholder groups, their influence on the local dairy goat sector and relationships between them.

In Bomet region (Figure 4), the diagram displays a rather complex network of connections among the stakeholder groups. There is a strong relationship between the public, participatory and the private sector illustrated by the overlapping circles. Farmer groups and non-farmer group households assume primary positions while research organisations and social services have minimal linkage ties with other stakeholder groups. The stakeholder KSB was missing from the diagram implying that the role of this organisation in this region and to the dairy goat sector was minimal or non-existent.

Figure 4: Venn diagram of Heifer projects (HPI) - Bomet region representing stakeholder groups, their influence on the local dairy goat sector and relationships between them.


Strategies for sustainable breed improvement 
Policy setting and formalising the informal 

Policy weaknesses on regulation and facilitation of animal breeding and veterinary services, coordination of research and extension, market organisation and monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes reported (MLFD 2007; Staal et al 2005), are in agreement with the findings of this study. This impedes the performance of the dairy goat sub-sector, among other livestock sectors. Therefore, the public sector needs to facilitate and support the private sector and other stakeholders to implement policy on dairy goat development (MLFD 2007). 

Societies Act (CAP 108) (KLR 2007) makes provision for registration and control of societies such as NGO’s, farmers/breeders associations and farmer groups. However, in practise, any organised follow up activities for such societies is rarely carried out. This could explain the NGO’s tendency to create parallel structures and institutional impermanence (Rees et al 2000), and the weak affiliation with the government and private sector levels (Figure 4). Coordination and harmonisation of the activities undertaken by the NGO’s in the dairy goat sub-sector, strengthening of farmers/breeders associations to guarantee the supply of improved breeding stock, motivation of farmer group participation to alleviate difficulties in marketing and facilitation of organisation of interest groups along the value chain are among the important policy options that need to be revisited. 

Lower ranking of research organisations, banks and the Kenya Stud Book (KSB) in order of priority (Table 4) demonstrates the little significance farmers place to these organisations. This could be attributable to weak policies prioritising research-extension-client linkage and feedback mechanisms and legal provisions undermining the banks lending portfolio to the sector (MLFD 2006a). The role of KSB is also undermined by the existing weak legal framework and outdated breeding policies (MLFD 2007). This scenario has led to decisions on choice of breeding stock to be made without reference to any authority or consultation and without any generally agreed format.  

Animal health and veterinary services provision through the MLFD has drawbacks (Table 5). The reality is that enforcement to control illegal practices by the Para-veterinary workers “technical assistants” have been a major problem (Silkin and Kasirye 2002). Modalities to amend a number of Acts responsible for animal health services to allow Para-veterinary workers with training and experience to offer basic veterinary services need to be reviewed, as it is inline with the government policy of privatisation of veterinary services (Kaberia 1998).  

The informal raw milk market plays a key role in providing important market outlets for the dairy goat farmers (Table 6). A similar pattern exists in the smallholder dairy cattle, driven by the demand for low cost milk and dairy products for poor consumers (Staal et al 2005) and inadequate enforcement of regulations (MLFD 2006a). It is apparent that a policy shift can mainstream the informal milk trade towards its formalisation which requires, as the dairy cattle sector shows (Staal et al 2005), concerted efforts of capacity building, standards and the respective rules and regulations. The overriding legislatory steps to safeguard the policy changes need to be enacted alongside legal provision to recognise a goat as a dairy animal and thus goat’s milk.

Local institutional arrangements  

Since institutional arrangements are more successful where the users are a socially cohesive group (Uphoff 1992), farmer groups and farmer/breeders associations are therefore well placed to foster smoother and more efficient interactions among the participating entities. With clear definition of membership, development of an organisational structure and decision on a set of operating principles that are fair and representative, dairy goat projects operate in such a way that the farmer forms the smallest unit of decision-making and activity. At this level, decisions and actions oriented towards sustainable dairy goat production are meshed with what other farmers are doing at the farmer group and at the umbrella body, the farmer/breeders association levels.  

Farmer/breeders associations collectively bring together farmers to pool their resources and efforts, and assist in facilitating access to inputs (e.g., breeding stock), market services, training and advocacy for their members (Tables 3 and 6). The associations also assist in the delivery of extension and animal health services at both the farmer group and farmer levels. Respective projects have trained their own agents “technical assistants” for delivery of such services (Nyaga 2000). Part of a problem facing these agents is lack of suitable legislative and organisational framework to support the localised delivery of services.  

Each farmer group exists on its own managerial system, work on its own by-laws and organise its own training/meeting schedules (Table 6). Promotion of group participation empowered farmers in decision-making, efficient use of bucks and early introduction of ownership (Njuru and Njoro 2000). Therefore, these activities need to be tailored to accommodate the socio-economic circumstances of farmers, local institutions and available resources to improve on farmers’ commitment to participation (Table 3). Expert guidance and capacity building activities (e.g., trainings on group dynamics) are necessary to help these farmer groups define their institutional and organisational structure to ensure that their decisions and actions are oriented towards sustainability. One example was that of the buck-keeper paying for buck services (Table 6).  

Organisations and structures 

The presence of various public sector stakeholders participating at different levels of the dairy goat sector is an indication of an effort by the government to lay down structures for long-term organisational development. However, the organisations within the framework of the public sector do not appear to be very active, particularly in service delivery, research and the economic development of dairy goat producing households (see Table 4 and Figures 2, 3 and 4). Similar concerns were raised in an agricultural and information systems study in Kenya (Rees et al 2000). The public sector was reported to be more centralised in decision-making and fragmented i.e., with poor co-ordination between ministries and departments in agricultural service delivery and research. The government needs to therefore limit its role in direct service provision and instead focus in maintaining the regulatory and supervisory roles and creation and maintenance of a favourable environment for private sector investment. The stakeholders, with close business ties with the dairy goat households, need to be organised and prepared for the challenge of gradually taking up the active role of service provision.  

Communication between research scientists, extensionists and farmer/breeders associations is essential to closing the gap between research organisations and farmers. Research organisations are not structured and organised along the gradient from centralised strategic research to decentralised applied or adaptive research (Biggs 1995; Merrill-Sands and Collion 1994), therefore, they are physically and contextually distant to problems of the goat sector, have little effective communication with farmers and farmers organisations and may not understand the complexity and problems of smallholders engaging in dairy goat production. Promotion of research results is most effective through interactive model of research and application for societies to benefit from research findings (Biggs 1995; Merrill-Sands and Collion 1994). 

Group discussions on the Venn diagrams (Figures 2, 3 and 4) revealed that the most important and immediate concerns of the dairy goat keepers to their economic development were access to markets, extension and animal health services, breeding stock and participation in the community breeding schemes (Tables 5 and 6). Linkages between the external actors particularly the government organisations, NGO’s and the private sector, were generally poor even though they had similar objectives. Predominant links were common between non-farmer group households, farmer groups and farmer/breeders association in all the three regions and projects. Dairy goat keepers rely foremost on the informal markets from the non-farmer group households for milk sales while production and supply of breeding stock was pegged to the farmer/breeders association. The developments agencies, NGO’s and the agricultural universities still supplement the supply of breeding stock through importation or its multiplication farms. Interventions are therefore very necessary to support acquisition of improved/pure breeding stock from small private breeders (elite breeders), who are members of the farmer groups and associations, and help them meet the required breeding standards (Peacock2005). In addition, the dairy goat keepers’ inclusion in the livestock sector through vertical integration with milk processors, credit facilities and input suppliers is of highest priority.  

Structures for breed improvement and replacement 
Buck rotation scheme 

Formation of groups assures that the client base is large enough to support the buck rotation scheme. Planning of buck rotation activities, buck rotation records and organisation of the scheme was done using well laid down guidelines, for instance, the buck rotation plan (Table 6). Representatives of the farmer groups sign a buck lease contract for the allotted breeding bucks. Each farmer group has to select a member of the group willing and able to maintain a breeding buck and charge the service fee on behalf of the group. Farmers were not allowed to keep any other breeding bucks for mating apart from projects owned bucks. At first glance, operations and responsibilities for management in the buck rotation scheme seem clear. However, the rotation scheme faces the following challenges;

a)      Management and replacement of old breeding bucks

·   The rotation scheme should set up pure bred nucleus stations and/or use Artificial Insemination (A. I). A.I has operational problems but this depends on the existing service infrastructure for dairy cows. After establishing the crossbred population; crossbreeding following a standard programme, registration of breeding animals/ identification, performance assessment of milk, growth health and functional appraisal, estimation of breeding values, selection of sires of dams, selection of bucks and dissemination are prerequisites (Bett et al 2009b).

b)     Physical and operational problems

·   Overdue buck rotation (more than 15 months in a group) and other organisational challenges linked with movement of bucks. Decentralisation of the associations activities (to viable locations) and use of dispersed nucleus schemes have been proposed to ease the scheme’s organisational costs and operational demands (Krause 2005).

·   The organisational hierarchy of the projects have it that farmers are represented on all the levels and thus are consulted before decisions are made in the associations e.g., charges for leasing the breeding bucks. However, it must be recognised that local institutions can produce practises that do not favour sustainability particularly if factionalism prevails (Uphoff 1992).

·   The bucks can be insured in the name of farmer/breeders association to protect the farmer groups against financial loss if the bucks were to die while farmers can be encouraged to become buck keepers by receiving incentives e.g. feeds, free buck services and health care (Nimbkar 2000).

Pass on of offspring scheme 

In the pass on schemes, does (female goats) are provided as an in-kind loan (Bett et al 2009a). Farmers repay the loan by raising female offsprings, which are then "passed on" to another farmer in the farmer group. This is crucial for the continuity and spread of the program and for the farmer groups to have a capital resource. This scheme also faces a number of obstacles (Table 6). First, in the contractual agreement between the farmer and the project, the recipient is allowed to use the doe for production of milk for consumption or sale. In return, the farmer is expected to keep the animal in good health and pass on female offsprings. The farmer is obliged to notify the group in case of any incidences. While recipient farmers gain access to a dairy goat, their rights are limited to usufruct as this makes its impossible for them to integrate the asset fully into their livelihood strategies. Accordingly, quantitative analysis is necessary to identify the costs and benefits arising from these agreements. In fact, farmers indicated that they were willing to pay to own the goats (Table 6). For those lacking the necessary finance, paucity of credit facilities is a serious constraint, therefore, such a credit-in-kind scheme still has an advantage (Upton 2004). Lastly, the scheme can be very slow if coupled with poor reproductive performance, low survival rates and successive delivery of male kids. In the event of the latter, flexibility on the contract agreement or additional supply of female dairy goats to the affected farmer groups is necessary.  



Our appreciation goes to the Dairy Goat Association of Kenya, Heifer Project International and Higher Education Links-Egerton University Community Dairy Goats Project for their cooperation. The writing of this paper was finalized when the corresponding author was a consultant at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). 


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Received 27 October 2013; Accepted 1 November 2013; Published 1 December 2013

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