Milk value chains maps identifying challenges and vulnerabilities in the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Narok, Kenya

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Dairy value chains, chain actors, Narok County, pastoralist, agro-pastoralists, vulnerabilities


Milk forms a key dietary component in pastoral areas of Kenya whose dwellers are faced with limited dietary options. The goal of this study was to map milk value chains from pastoral and agro-pastoral areas and identify constraints and existing vulnerabilities that hampers their upgrading in Narok County, Kenya. A cross-sectional study was done between March and July 2019, and data was collected through 9 focus group discussions comprising 134 pastoralists and 4 key informant interviews using a questionnaire guide. Data was collected on chain profiles, governance, existing constraints, and vulnerabilities. The chain analysis revealed that the key actors were input suppliers; pastoral and agropastoral producers; wholesalers; cooperatives; private and public processers; retailers and consumers. Most of the milk was produced by smallholder farmers for household consumption and only sold the surplus. The average daily milk yield was 15 litres, 7 litres and 4 litres per cow intensive, semi-intensive and extensive systems respectively. Milk pricing was determined by local brokers and processors who were the dominant buyers of the milk. Value addition to the milk was limited to ghee production, souring. One bulking center produced yoghurt while other bulking centers and retailers sold the milk either raw or boiled.  The major constraints reported in the production of milk were water and feed scarcity; low production; poor milk pricing and unreliable veterinary services. The results further revealed the existence of both formal and informal milk value chains. The informal chain was dominated by small-scale producers with minimal inputs and low levels of output. The producers had no influence on price setting and faced challenges in marketing milk. Interrelationships between the actors, was based on verbal agreements with no binding contracts. This study revealed existing deficiencies in input supply and vulnerabilities which may result in contamination of milk along the chain nodes.

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