A survey was conducted in Butere/Mumias and Kakamega districts of Western Kenya in 2005 to evaluate the availability of dairy support services following liberalisation of agricultural sector by the Government. A total of 69 and 107 farmers were interviewed in Butere/Mumias and Kakamega districts, respectively. Liberalisation opened up market for raw milk in major urban centres that were previously supplied by processed milk from Kenya cooperative creameries (KCC). Attempts to expand dairy production to capture this market was constrained by a huge deficit of breeding stock with about 53.4% of farmers buying animals from neighbouring districts. Artificial insemination (AI) service was not available when required by 30% of farmers who resorted to use bulls that were within a distance of less than 2 km (71.4%). Farmers using AI moved between 0 and 5 km (38.1%). The private veterinary surgeon served 54% of the farmers and on average there were 2922 and 2087.1 dairy animals for every veterinary surgeons and AI service provider, respectively. The low demand for dairy support services was attributed to lack of high quality dairy animals and capital by the service providers to buy the required equipments and materials.
Key words: Smallholder, dairying, support services, liberalisation, Kenya.
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