Bolivia accounts for approximately 63% of the South American llama population. Llamas keep playing an important role in the subsistence of smallholdings in the Andean regions fulfilling various functions in the productive, social and cultural life of the people. The present study evaluates functions of llama keeping as a prerequisite to the formulation of a community-driven breeding programme. A ranking approach was applied with 75 farmers in 6 villages. Sampling considered the factors gender and central versus remote communities. The different functions were presented visually. Each farmer was asked to arrange the illustrations according to his preference order. In total, 10 functions were suggested, covering the categories transport, sale or use of products, integration of animals in cultural events and herd size as capital asset. Ranking frequencies of stated preferences were calculated. A rank-based t-test was applied for multiple pair-wise comparisons within ranking groups gender and community provenance, respectively. Between-group comparison was performed by non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum test. The capital function was most important (14.6% of total ranking frequency) followed by the transport function to cultivated areas (13.7%) and the transport function for other purposes in third place (10.8%). All pair-wise comparison analysis indicated a significant difference for the two highest ranked functions. Functions ranked from 3rd to 9th position showed poor separation due to similar means with high variance. Bottom ranked function with significant separation for all ranking groups was the 'Integration of animals in cultural events or rituals'. Women appreciated the dung of the animals more than men (p = 0.0376), whereas men put higher value on the sale of live animals for cash generation in case of emergency (p = 0.0006) and for cash availability (p = 0.0371). It is concluded that traditionally important functions of llamas like wealth accumulation and the close integration of the animals in mixed farming systems prevail. Breeding policies and breeding decisions will be more suitable when taking into account farmers' preferences and gender-specific perceptions.
- Animal functions
- Bolivian highlands
- Multiple pair-wise comparisons
- Stated preferences