Assessment of the impact of animal trypanosomosis on dairy cattle productivity in western Kenya

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Tsetse and trypanosomosis cause considerable losses in Kenya. However, there has not been any systematic measurement of the losses although resources are expended annually in the control of this disease and its vector. It is only estimated that approximately 25% of Kenya can not support meaningful livestock production because of trypanosomosis and where they can be kept despite the disease, losses of up to 30% are experienced. Results of more accurate assessments of impacts of animal diseases and their improved control are needed. Without such information, policymakers are unable to determine optimal disease control strategies for different areas or to set judicious priorities in agricultural research. This project was therefore intended to provide empirical evidence on the impact of trypanosomosis on dairy farming in western Kenya. Participatory methods were used to assess and analyse the problem of animal trypanosomosis in dairy cattle in western Kenya and hypothesise on the genesis of try panos om os is epidemics. Formal surveys were then used to verify and quantify some ofthe information gathered from participatory methods. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were used to analyse data from the formal survey. This study provides evidence that trypanosomosis reduces human settlement by up to 20%. It also reduces dairy cattle density by up to 62% and increases calving interval from about 14 to 25 months among dairy herds. It has also established that trypanosomosis alters the grazing system used by farmers and makes dairying a more costly farming activity. Finally, trypanosomosis leads to reduction of cultivated areas and causes inefficient resource allocation causing crops income to drop by up to 88%. This study concludes that the potential benefits of trypanosomosis control seem to be high. Removal of trypanosomosis constraint on dairy production would lead to significant gains since the demand for (and prices of) dairy products are expected to increase both domestically and internationally.