Farmer-preferred traits in smallholder dairy farming systems in Tanzania
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Decisions of breeding schemes in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa tend to be either government or project driven, with a focus on upgrading local breeds. However, there is scant information on the individual animal traits that smallholder farmers prefer. The aim of this study was to examine farmers’ preferences of dairy cattle traits using a discrete choice experiment methodology. The study was conducted through visits to 555 randomly selected dairy farms in the sub-humid Eastern coast and temperate Southern highlands of Tanzania. Choices of animal traits were presented to farmers who were asked to evaluate choice alternatives based on attribute levels and finally select the alternative with the highest utility. The choice experiment data were analysed using a conditional logit model. Coefficients for milk yield, fertility, feed requirement, temperament and diseases resistance were overall statistically significant (p < 0.05). In order of perceived importance, farmers were willing to keep a cow with high milk yield (coefficient = 1.43 ± 0.059), good fertility (0.85 ± 0.050), easy temperament (0.76 ± 0.066), low feed requirement (− 0.56 ± 0.092) and enhanced tropical disease resistance (0.48 ± 0.048). The purchase price coefficient was negative (− 0.001 ± 0.0003), indicating that farmers would prefer improved dairy cattle at affordable prices. Farmers’ preferred traits were influenced by agro-ecological zone and type of production system (extensive vs intensive). The study provides an opportunity for breeding programme designers to take farmers’ preferred dairy traits into serious consideration.
Journal Title/Title of Proceedings
Tropical Animal Health and Production
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