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Association Between Duration of Community-based Group Membership and Sustainable Livelihoods for Kenyan Women Dairy Farmers
by Colleen Waltona,*, John VanLeeuwena, Fiona Yeudallb, and Jennifer Taylorc
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.031.002, pp. 43–60
Published online 4 October 2012
AbstractKenyan community leaders called for strengthened sustainable livelihoods for farmers and in 1992 formed a self-help dairy group that was reorganized in 2009 to form the Wakulima Dairy Ltd. (WDL). At WDL, members sell surplus milk to the dairy and, through nongovernmental organization (NGO) partnerships, receive training to enhance dairy farm productivity. As a result, higher milk production has been reported; however, data are lacking on sustainability and livelihood outcomes of dairy training for women farmers. To inform future projects and interventions, our study objectives were to determine the relationships between dairy group membership and duration of membership, sustainable livelihood assets, household income, and food security. We thus conducted a cross-sectional survey of 88 WDL members (among four membership duration groups) and 23 nonmember farmers. Milk production and herd size were higher for greater-than-three-year members compared to nonmembers and one-to-three-year members. The proportion of households with an income from dairy of greater than 5,000 ksh/month (ranging from 0 to 40 percent), food security (ranging from 4 to 30 percent), and number of improved household characteristics (ranging from 1.7 to 3.3), were positively associated with longer membership duration. While the cross-sectional design does not allow attribution of causality, results suggested that WDL membership strengthened the livelihood assets of women farmers, particularly after three years, and that positive outcomes were sustained with longer membership duration. Anecdotally, women indicated that WDL's role in women's control of dairy income, regular payments, and food and services on credit, were important. WDL is a model to strengthen sustainable livelihoods through relevant gendered training, supports, and market access for agricultural products. Research to understand the optimal asset mix to benefit from dairy groups as well as factors limiting per-cow milk production is needed to guide future interventions and enhance the role of dairy farming for sustainable livelihoods.
Keywords: capacity building, cross-sectional survey, family welfare, food security, sustainability
a Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 4P3 Canada.
b School of Nutrition, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street Toronto, ON M5B 2K3 Canada.
c Department of Applied Human Sciences, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 4P3 Canada.
Disclosures: Author Walton has been a volunteer milk quality advisor with WDL and has provided training for groups of WDL farmers. Author VanLeeuwen has provided animal health training for groups of WDL farmers with Canadian and Kenyan senior veterinary students. Authors Taylor, VanLeeuwen, and Walton are actively involved with Farmers Helping Farmers on a volunteer basis.
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