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Valuing animal genetic resources: a choice modeling application to indigenous cattle in Kenya

  • Eric Ruto
  • Guy Garrod
  • Riccardo Scarpa

In an effort to improve productivity and profits, many farmers have replaced traditional livestock breeds with higher yielding alternatives. While such changes may bring about short-term economic gains, the loss of traditional livestock breeds could result in the loss of an important genetic resource as a variety of important genetic traits adapted to local conditions gradually become less common in the population. This is a particular problem in Africa, where livestock make a substantial contribution to human livelihoods. Using the example of cattle in Kenya's pastoral livestock markets this study uses a choice experiment approach to investigate buyers' preferences for indigenous breeds such as the Maasai Zebu. The analysis employs a latent class approach to characterize heterogeneity in valuations both within and across respondents buying cattle for breeding, slaughter, or resale. The results show that there are at least three classes of buyers with distinct preferences for cattle traits and that most buyers favor exotic rather than indigenous breeds. Such preferences have implications for the conservation of indigenous cattle in Kenya and in other developing countries and suggest that some form of intervention may be required to ensure the preservation of this important animal genetic resource. Copyright 2008 International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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Article provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 89-98

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Handle: RePEc:bla:agecon:v:38:y:2008:i:1:p:89-98
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  1. Jabbar, M. A. & Diedhiou, M. L., 2003. "Does breed matter to cattle farmers and buyers?: Evidence from West Africa," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 461-472, July.
  2. Scarpa, Riccardo & Drucker, Adam G. & Anderson, Simon & Ferraes-Ehuan, Nancy & Gomez, Veronica & Risopatron, Carlos R. & Rubio-Leonel, Olga, 2003. "Valuing genetic resources in peasant economies: the case of 'hairless' creole pigs in Yucatan," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 427-443, July.
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  7. Edward Morey & Jennifer Thacher & William Breffle, 2006. "Using Angler Characteristics and Attitudinal Data to Identify Environmental Preference Classes: A Latent-Class Model," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 34(1), pages 91-115, 05.
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