A positive deviant approach to understanding key factors of smallholder dairy development in Kenya

S.A. Migose, I.J.M. de Boer, B.O. Bebe, S.J. Oosting

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Dairy development in Kenya is hampered by many constraints and farmers who succeed to overcome such constraints, when compared to their peers who cannot overcome the constraints, are the so-called positive deviants (PD). The objective of the present study was to identify strategies of PD farmers and factors underlying such strategies to overcome constraints to smallholder dairy development. We identified perceived PD and non-PD farmers in urban and rural locations and classified these farmers according to the economic performance of the dairy activity at their farms as being positive, average, and negative economic deviant. The main factors distinguishing perceived and economic positive deviants from their peers were scale (large herd size), intensity (high milk yield per cow) and cost control (achieving optimal production cost for maximal gross margin of dairy activities). The good performance of PD farms required good dairy husbandry regarding feeding, breeding and veterinary care which was facilitated by use of inputs (optimal quantity and high quality), milk marketing (channels with high price of milk), knowledge and skills (advanced education and experience), resource endowment (assets, livestock, and non-dairy income). Not all perceived PD were economic PD (two out of seven in UL and nine out of 13 in RL). Such perceived, but
not economic PDs were having large herds, but with low productivity since non-dairy production functions were important in these herds, e.g. the financial and insurance function or they had a good productivity but at a too high cost level to be economically PD. The results imply that interventions aimed at dairy development among smallholders should offer training of farmers and extension to farmers to enhance level of knowledge and skills for good dairy husbandry, cost control, and should target availability and quality of inputs, and milk marketing. Poor households, besides, require access to credit facilities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrade-offs in Science - Keeping the Balance
Subtitle of host publicationAbstracts of the WIAS Science Day 2019
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019
EventWIAS Science Day 2019: Trade-Offs in Science - Congrescentrum de Werelt, Lunteren, Netherlands
Duration: 18 Mar 201918 Mar 2019


ConferenceWIAS Science Day 2019
Abbreviated titleKeeping the Balance


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