Assessment of livestock production constraints in the smallholder dairy systems in the western Kenya highlands was carried out using both qualitative and quantitative epidemiological methods.
Rapid rural appraisals (qualitative) were conducted in rural and peri-urban areas. A cross-sectional survey (quantitative) was then conducted on a random sample of farms in the study area. Diseases, poor communication, lack of marketing of livestock produce, lack of artificial insemination services and feed and water shortages during the dry season were identified as the major constraints to cattle production in both areas. Tick borne diseases (especially East Coast fever) were identified as the major constraint to cattle production. Qualitative methods were found to be more flexible and cheaper than the quantitative methods by a ratio of between 2.19-2.0. The two methods were found to complement each other. Qualitative studies could be applied in preliminary studies before initiating more specific follow up quantitative studies.
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