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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

versión On-line ISSN 2224-9435
versión impresa ISSN 1019-9128

J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. vol.80 no.3 Pretoria  2009




Economic assessment of the performance of trypanotolerant cattle breeds in a pastoral production system in Kenya



M W MaichomoI; W O KosuraII; J M GathumaIII; G K GitauIV; J M Ndung'uV; S O NyamwaroVI

ITrypanosomiasis Research Centre, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, PO Box 362, Kikuyu, Kenya
IIDepartment of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, PO Box 29053, Nairobi, Kenya
IIIDepartment of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, PO Box 29053, Nairobi, Kenya
IVDepartment of Clinical Studies, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, PO Box 29053, Nairobi, Kenya
VKenya Agricultural Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Labouratories, PO Box 14733, Nairobi. Present address: Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, 71 Avenue Louis Casai, PO Box 93, 1216 Cointrin, Switzerland
VIKenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kiboko Research Centre, PO Box 12-90138, Makindu, Kenya




Cattle are the major source of food security and income for pastoral farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. However, infectious and parasitic diseases remain a major constraint to improved cattle productivity in the region. The use of animal health economics to support decision-making on cost-effective disease control options is increasingly becoming important in the developing world. Trypanotolerant indigenous Orma/zebu cattle in a trypanosomosis-endemic area of Kenya were evaluated for economic performance using gross-margin analysis and partial-farm budgeting. Orma/zebu and Sahiwal/zebu cross-bred cattle were exposed to similar husbandry practices and monitored for growth rate, incidence of common infections (trypanosomosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, East Coast Fever and helminthosis) and the cost of treatment assessed. Interview questionnaires were also used to assess the preference rating of the 2 breeds. Results indicated that incidence of infection was trypanosomosis 3 %, anaplasmosis 58 %, babesiosis 11 %, East Coast Fever 22 % and helminthosis 28 %, with no significant difference between breeds. The Orma/zebu and Sahiwal/zebu breeds had comparable economic benefits, hence a pastoralist in Magadi division is likely to get similar returns from both breeds. This study therefore recommends adoption of not only the Sahiwal/zebu but also the Orma/zebu breed for cattle improvement in trypanosomosis endemic areas and conservation of indigenous genetic resources.

Keywords: agro-pastoralists, gross-margin analysis, Orma/zebu, partial-farm budget analysis, Sahiwal/zebu, trypanotolerance



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Received: July 2008
Accepted: July 2009



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