Adoption of Calliandra Calothyrsus for Improved Dairy Production in Embu County, Kenya

Paul Tuwei, Ebby Chagala Odera, Jonah Kiprop, Josephine Wanjiku


Small-scale dairy production plays a significant role in food production and income generation in Embu County. However, dairy animals in the county rarely meet their full potential of milk production mainly due to inadequate fodder in terms of quantity and quality. Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) is the main feed for the animals. However, Napier grass is low in protein and produces little biomass during the dry season. Leguminous fodder trees including Calliandra calothyrsus are evergreen even during the dry season and have foliage rich in protein which can supplement the main diet of animals. This study was undertaken in Embu County in 2015 to assess adoption of Calliandra calothyrsus as a fodder. The study was conducted through a field survey using a structured questionnaire. The study involved interviewing 184 farmers, of which 124 were agroforestry farmers producing fodder trees and 60 non-fodder tree producing farmers.  The results of the survey showed that 86% of the sampled farmers had adopted growing of Calliandra tree fodder. These farmers noted that the tree had multiple benefits that included; increased and improved dairy milk production from cows and goats as indicated by about 92% of the farmers, and improved quality of manure (84%). Age, gender, years in education and land size was the key socio-economic factors influencing adoption of Calliandra. Calliandra calothyrsus is an important fodder tree in Embu County contributing to; increased and improved milk production, providing food supplement for other livestock enterprises, conservation of soil and improved quality of manure.

Keywords: Dairy farming, Embu County, Calliandra calothrysus, Adoption, Agroforestry

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/9-10-02

Publication date:May 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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