Determinants of livestock market participation among pastoral communities of Tana River County, Kenya

Journal: Environment, Development and Sustainability

Date of Publication : August 2020


Livestock production in arid and semi-arid areas is an important source of household food and income. Selling or buying of livestock and their products is important among pastoral communities who derive their source of livelihoods from livestock production. This study sought to determine factors that influence the initial decision of pastoral communities to participate in livestock markets and the extent or level of participation in livestock markets. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from pastoralists through face-to-face interview. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Heckman two-stage selection model that allows for determination of the discrete probability of participation and the extent of participation. The results show that most households participated in the livestock markets as sellers rather than buyers with herd recruitment and restocking for market participants being mainly through birth, borrowing or loaning female cows from friends. The number of livestock sold or bought by pastoralists at any given market price was significantly affected by the non-price constraints such as distance to the market, group marketing, age and education level. The decision of whether to participate and the level of market participation were significantly determined by pastoralists attaining and maintaining sufficiently large herd sizes and hence become willing to liquidate animals through the market. Sole emphasis on livestock marketing may not significantly manage risks unless there is proper understanding of pastoral long-term incentives to keep livestock. Therefore, developing livestock markets in pastoral areas should be along with investment on rangeland rehabilitation that enables reciprocal access of resources which allows them to maximize herd sizes.