Dairy production and marketing dominates the livestock contribution to household economies and is one of the highest deliverer of the per capita milk availability in sub-Saharan Africa. Livestock activities are integrated within household consumption and production decisions, increasing drudgery among women. In Kenya the livestock projects were established to improve household food security and the nutritional status of household members by increasing the consumption of dairy products. A comparison was made between beneficiary and non-beneficiary households to identify factors that were associated with the success of diary programmes. Beneficiary households increased time and income expended in the dairy enterprise, on veterinary services, and had more knowledge on dairy management. There was increased consumption of milk and milk products and green leafy vegetables, and also in the intake of protein, vitamin A and energy in the beneficiary than in the non-beneficiary households. The selection criteria of differentiating beneficiary and non-beneficiary indicate that beneficiary farmers had already had capacity of significant investment in dairy activities. Though it may be ambiguous to tell whether dairy programmes themselves significantly affected the outcomes given in this position, the identification of household factors that are improved by dairy projects has promising returns for sustainable dairying and, improved food and nutrient intake in households and nutritional status of women and their preschool children. Inclusion of livestock as a policy issue in national goals and objectives could result in improved nutritional status and improved living standards.
Key words: Livestock, dairy project, food and nutrient intake, women, preschool children, Western Kenya.
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