Share this:


  • Rearing of domestic animals including poultry.

a) Traditional/Pastoral/Subsistence Livestock Farming

  • Rearing of animals on natural pasture involving seasonal migration in search of water and pasture.

Main Areas

  • N and N.E Kenya e.g. Turkana, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Kajiado, Narok, etc.
  • Communities: Maasai, Somali, Borana, Rendile, etc.

Factors Influencing Nomadic Pastoralism

  • Grazing areas are free from animal pests especially tsetse flies for being dry and hot.
  • Savannah grassland and semi-desert conditions which cause grass to sprout during rains and drying during the hot dry season.
  • Availability of grass most times of the year in the bush and wooded savannah.
  • Gentle or relatively flat terrain of the areas which makes it easy for the movement of animals from one place to another.
  • Sparse population of N and N.E region due to harsh climatic conditions which encourages nomadic pastoralism because each community is able to occupy large tracts of land.
  • Desert and semi-desert conditions which don’t favour agriculture making livestock rearing to be way of earning livelihood.
  • Tradition of the people whereby animals are a sign of wealth and are used for paying dowry and slaughtered for festivals.

Characteristics of Pastoral Farming

  • They keep large numbers of animals as an insurance against natural deaths.
  • They practice uncontrolled breeding which results into large herds.
  • Many kinds of animals are kept e.g. cattle, sheep, goats and camels.
  • Animals are reared for subsistence not for commercial purposes.
  • They keep indigenous cattle which are hardy such as Zebu and Boran.
  • They keep animals of poor quality due to lack of quality feeds and weakening by diseases making them to be of low value.
  • Animals are a sign of wealth and are reared for the purpose of paying dowry and slaughter during cultural festivals.
  • There is seasonal movement whereby they sped the dry season in one place and wet season in another.
  • Disease incidences of both livestock and human are common due to tropical conditions.


  • Milk, blood, meat and skin for shields, sheaths and clothing.


  • Shortage of water and pasture due to long dry spell making animals to be of poor quality.
  • Pests such as ticks and fleas which weaken animals and diseases such as east coast fever, foot and mouth and anthrax which cause heavy losses of stock.
  • Overstocking causing overgrazing leading to severe erosion, poor pastures and poor quality animals which fetch low prices.
  • Lack of extension and veterinary services due to insecurity and constant movement hindering improvement of animals reared.
  • Low levels of education and culture leading to keeping animals for wealth and prestige making them to overstock leading to severe erosion, poor pastures and poor quality animals.
  • Poor pastures resulting from poor soils with most areas consisting of tuft grasses and bare land.
  • Cattle rustling which causes loss of live and destruction of property.
  • Inaccessibility of pastoral areas due to poor roads making the farmers unable to get their animals to the market.
  • They rear indigenous cattle such as zebu and boran which mature slowly, yield little milk and have poor quality beef.
  • Exploitation by middlemen due to lack of market information.
  • Small local market due to sparse population.
  • Competition from national parks leading to conflicts.

Improvements in Pastoral Areas (Measures Taken By the Government to Improve Pastoral Farming)

  1. Encouraging pastoralists through the ministry of livestock to start ranching in order to improve the quality of their animals.
  2. Improvement of water supply in drier areas by sinking boreholes, wells, construction of dams, etc.
  3. Establishment of demonstration ranches to sensitize pastoralists on better methods of animal husbandry.
  4. Construction of cattle dips, and setting animal pest and disease organisations to control pests and diseases.
  5. Providing extension services to advice pastoralists and offer drug treatment to animals.
  6. Teaching pastoralists through formal education about advantages of keeping manageable sizes of herds.
  7. Encouraging them to keep smaller number of animals to solve the problem of quality.
  8. Ploughing and resowing pasture with more nourishing drought resistant grass.
  9. Purchasing pedigree animals and cross breeding with indigenous animals resulting in hybrid stock which is able to resist many tropical diseases, give more milk and better quality meet.

b) Commercial Livestock Farming

i) Dairy Farming

  • Keeping cattle for milk production.


  • Dairy cattle are reared.
  • It’s usually practiced in areas with good economy i.e. developed infrastructure for quick transportation of milk and good ready market because dairy products are perishable.
  • Employment of high modern technology of processing, packaging because milk is a perishable product which should be processed short time after it is milked.
  • High milk yielding cows are reared e.g. Friesian, Ayrshire, Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sahiwal.


  • The main breeds are Friesian and Ayrshire and cross breeds between indigenous and exotic breeds.
  • Farmers use AI administered by veterinary extension officers or bulls directly to sire calves and keep the herd ‘in milk.
  • In the past the government used to provide the services but they have been privatised making them inaccessible to many Kenyans.

Types of dairy farming

a) Lowland Dairy Farming

  • Keeping traditional cattle for consumption by family members.

b) Highland Commercial Dairy Farming
  • Practiced in the Kenyan highlands. in the following dairying areas:

Rift valley

  • Kericho, Bomet and Nakuru, Laikipia, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu which are the leading dairying areas.


  • Large scale farms
  • Milking is mechanised
  • Fed on fodder and grass


  • All districts
  • Small farms
  • Ranches exist in Makuyu Murang’a
  • Intensive farming
  • Zero grazing and fodder feeding practiced


  • Kakamega, Vihiga, and Bungoma.
  • Small scale dairying
  • Open grazing is common


  • Meru, upper Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Kangundo, Machakos, Mbooni hills and Makueni.
  • Large scale dairying in Timau and Kibirichia in Meru
  • Small scale in higher altitudes
  • Open grazing common
  • Minimal zero grazing


  • Kisii, Nyamira and Oyani and suna in higher parts of Migori
  • Dominated by small scale dairying
  • Zero grazing in some parts of Nyamira and Kisii districts.

Conditions Favouring Dairy Farming

Kenya Highlands


  • The region experiences low temperatures ideal for survival of exotic breeds (averaging 18◦c).
  • The areas receive high and well distributed rainfall which ensures abundant supply of natural pasture and water from permanent rivers.
  • Fertile volcanic soils which have ensured there is quality nutritious cover of grass.


  • Well established infrastructure e.g. roads which ensures quick transportation of milk to processing plants.
  • High population which offers ready market for dairy products.
  • Availability of processing and storage facilities near dairy farms to transform milk into less perishable products which has increased the rate of milk production.
  • Provision of veterinary services and demonstration farms by the government which promotes rearing of high quality dairy breeds.


  • A small country in W.Europe.
  • The greatest exporter of dairy products.

Physical Factors

  1. Low lying relatively flat land which makes it ideal for dairy farming.
  2. Low lying relatively flat land which makes it ideal for dairy farming.
  3. Cool to warm temperature (0.4-16.6◦c) which facilitates the growth of natural pasture.
  4. Soils derived from boulder clay which is constantly enriched with animal manure and fertilizer which are good for the growing of fodder crops.
  5. Availability of a variety of fodder crops, manufactured feeds and supplements leading to high milk production.

Human Factors

Mechanisation of most dairy farms e.g. machines for milking are widely used.

Big market for dairy products locally and in other European countries due to a high purchasing power.

Availability of adequate capital and modern technology which has improved production and storage of dairy products.

Extensive use of artificial insemination which improves the quality of breeds making dairy farming a success.

Rapid growth of co-operative movement which are very competitive causing farmers to strive to get products of high quality.

Organisation of Dairy farming


  • The main breeds kept are Friesian and Ayrshire and cross breeds between indigenous and exotic breeds.
  • Carried out for both subsistence and commercial purposes.
  • Farmers depend on fodder and natural grass.
  • There are cooperatives which provide processing, marketing and credit services to farmers.
  • Dairy farming is less mechanised.
  • Few farmers have access to AI services since their privatisation.


Dairy farming is carried out by individual farmers in large scale.

It’s carried out for commercial purposes.

The breeds reared are Danish Holstein which is the traditional cow, Friesian (75%), Ayrshire and channel island cows.

Livestock are kept indoors for between 4-5 months during winter.

Farmers mainly depend on fodder than natural grass because temperatures are cold most of the year.

There are thousands of co-operatives provide processing, credit, advisory and research services.

Dairy farming is highly mechanised with machines such as combined harvesters, Lorries, ploughs and seed drills being provided by co-operatives.

Processing of Milk

  • Pasteurisation – Heating liquid milk to 75◦c for about 15 minutes.
  • Sterilisation – Heating to 100◦c for a short time to kill bacteria which survived pasteurisation.
  • Homogenising – Breaking and distributing fat particles throughout the milk to ensure a layer of cream doesn’t form of milk.
  • Ultra heat treatment – Heating milk beyond 100◦c.
  • Processed further into products such as butter, ghee or cheese.
  • The products are packed ready for distribution to consumers.



  • It’s done by KCC and Dairy board of Kenya.
  • Farmers may take the milk to KCC by themselves.
  • Local co-operatives also collect milk from farmers at various collection points and take it to KCC.
  • After processing the products are sent to KCC depots for distribution to consumers.
  • Some is exported to neighbouring countries such as Uganda.
  • Other processors also market their milk locally and internationally.


  • Done by co-operatives.
  • The products are sold locally and abroad with major destination being EU such as Germany, UK, Sweden, etc.
  • The government monitors quality by use of inspectors who endorse the quality by Lurmark.
  • Agricultural Marketing Board and Danish Dairy Board promote exports by international trade fares and surveys.
  • New markets are being explored in Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

Problems Facing Dairy Farming in Kenya

  1. Small scale dairy farms face stiff competition from other cash crops like tea, coffee, vegetables and passion fruits, etc.
  2. The cost of inputs is very high which has minimised mechanisation and resulted into to low profit margins.
  3. Impassability of roads during the rainy season making milk delivery difficult.
  4. Excessive droughts which result in inadequate feeds which causes temporary milk shortage.
  5. Risk of cattle pests and diseases which has restricted dairy farming to Kenyan highlands.
  6. Poor management of co-operatives at grassroots resulting to delayed payments which kills farmers’ morale.
  7. Shortage of proper storage facilities at the collecting centres such as cooling plants causing milk to go bad before it gets to processing factories.
  8. AI services have been privatised making them very expensive and inaccessible to many small scale farmers resulting in low quality breeds and hence low milk production.
  9. Lack of training especially to small scale farmers.

Improvements (How Govt Is Laying Emphasis to Dairy Farming)

  • Appointing supervisory boards for dairy co-operatives.
  • Extending credit facilities to farmers through co-operatives.
  • Holding agricultural shows to educate farmers on good dairy farm management.
  • Setting up demonstration farms which breed high quality bulls to be released to farmers.
  • Establishing well maintained roads for delivery of milk.
  • Carrying out extensive research on possible solutions to diseases.


    Rare incidents of diseases such as mastitis and Salmonella Dublin.

    It’s expensive to run farms in winter when animals are kept indoors and fed on fodder.

    Dairy animals emit a considerable amount of carbon dioxide and methane which contributes to green house effect.

    Reduced market share due to competition from other dairy producing countries and restrictions.

    Occasional spells of drought causing a considerable drop in milk production.

Role of Dairy farming to the Economies

  1. Earns Kenya foreign exchange by exporting milk and dairy products.
  2. Saves some foreign exchange.
  3. Government also earns revenue by taxation from the sale of dairy products which is used to fund various development projects.
  4. Provides employment in dairy farms, milk processing plants and dairy related industries.
  5. Gives farmers an income which has alleviated poverty and raised living standards.
  6. Promoted development of industries such as milk processing plants, input manufacturing industries which has created more employment and raised per capita income.
  7. Promotes good health and nutrition by providing proteins, fats and vitamins that are essential for human growth and development.
  8. Has led to improvement of infrastructure in Kenya by government improving existing roads to ease milk delivery.



  • Dairy farmers in both countries sell their products to co-operatives.
  • Both countries experience similar problems of adverse weather changes and diseases.
  • Animals kept are similar e.g. Friesian, Ayrshire, Jersey, etc.
  • Milk processing and dairy products are similar e.g. liquid milk, cheese and butter.
  • In both countries milk is consumed locally and for export.
  • Both countries keep traditional and exotic breeds.
  • Open and zero grazing are practiced in both countries.


  • Dairy farming in Kenya is carried outdoors most of the year while in Denmark the animals are kept indoors for about 6 months in winter.
  • Dairy farming depends mainly on grass in Kenya while in Denmark it’s mostly dependent on fodder.
  • Dairy farming in Denmark is evenly distributed while in Kenya it is restricted to highlands.
  • Dairy farming is heavily mechanised in Denmark while mechanisation lacks in many farms in Kenya.
  • Dairy farming is a major foreign exchange earner in Denmark while in Kenya most of dairy products are consumed locally.
  • Denmark achieves high yields throughout the year because they feed animals on fodder while in Kenya yields are affected by climatic changes.
  • Kenyan farmers practice mixed farming while Denmark farmers specialised.
  • Dairy co-operatives are highly developed in Denmark whereby they give grants and supply farmers with machines.
  • AI services are more widely used in Denmark than Kenya where only a few farmers have access to AI services since their privatisation.

ii) Beef Farming

  • Rearing of cattle for production of meet.

Conditions Favouring Beef Farming


Physical Factors

  1. Extensive flatlands with natural grass within Nyika plateau and Rift Valley region.
  2. Moderate temperatures of about 28◦c.
  3. Moderate rainfall of about 750mm or above which ensures there is enough pasture.
  4. Availability of watering sites like Lorian swamp and a number of permanent rivers flowing through beef farming areas.

Human Factors

  • Availability of ranching schemes which control overgrazing and the spread of pests and diseases.
  • Cultural practice of local people who carry out livestock keeping as their occupation.


  • Argentina is the worlds top beef exporter.
  • Beef farming is mainly carried out in pampas grasslands with the major beef farming areas being Chaco Formosa and Santiago del Estero.

Physical Factors

  1. Extensive rolling pampas grasslands which provides good natural grazing landscape and allows cattle to graze freely.
  2. Fertile soils from the slopes of Andes which have given rise to good natural pasture.
  3. Moderate and well distributed reliable rainfall (about 1000mm annually) received in Pampas which favours growth of good pasture throughout the year and ensures regular water supply for animals.
  4. Temperatures ranging between 24◦c in summer and about 10◦c in winter which enables grass to grow throughout the year.

Human Factors

  1. High quality exotic breeds such as Short horn and Hereford which mature faster and have quality and quantity beef.
  2. Availability of alfalfa which matures faster and is more nutritious which has been planted to replace natural grass.
  3. Well developed infrastructure like the railway network used for movement of beef cattle from ranches to factories and to the markets.
  4. Availability of large scale ranches which are well managed and mechanised.
  5. Availability of adequate capital making it possible to have refrigeration for proper storage of beef products.
  6. Availability of local markets in E.U and U.S.A.



Organisation of Beef Farming


  • 90% of beef cattle are reared by subsistence farmers and pastoralists and the rest by commercial ranching.
  • Pastoralists constitute the greatest majority.
  • There is small scale farming distributed all over the country and large scale farming carried out in the ranches in Rift Valley, Laikipia, Nakuru, Trans Nzoia, Kajiado, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Kitui and Machakos.
  • The main indigenous breed kept is Zebu while imported breeds include Aberdare Angus, Hereford, Galloway, Short horn and Charolais.
  • Animals are fed on natural grass in pastoralism and nutritious drought resistant pasture introduced in some ranches to improve beef quality.
  • Fertilizers are being applied on the pasture to improve its quality.
  • Cattle are frequently inoculated against fatal diseases like anthrax.
  • Cattle dips and veterinary services are provided by the government to improve farming activity.


  • There are large scale ranches known as Estancias.
  • Each Estancia has a manager.
  • Farms are paddocked.
  • The animals are reared mainly on natural pasture though there are areas which have been sown with alfalfa.
  • Cowboys called gauchos drive horses around farms to look after the cattle.
  • There are quarters for stockmen at strategic points of the farm.
  • Farming is mechanised and aeroplanes jeep and land rover cars are used.
  • There are cattle dips and wind pumps to provide water in some farms.
  • Calves enter pastures with about 180kg.
  • They are branded, fattened using cultivated pastures and supplementation for 16-17 months.
  • They are slaughtered and taken to meet packing plants and put in cold storages and packed into tins or taken by rail to slaughter houses of main towns such as Buenos Aires and Rosario.

Marketing of Beef Products


  • Small scale farmers sell their animals to butchers who slaughter and sell to consumers after it’s inspected.
  • Livestock Marketing Division is in charge of marketing beef from pastoral areas.
  • It acts as a co-operative society and buys beef cattle and puts them in holding grounds.
  • The animals are vaccinated against diseases and then sold to individual butchers or to slaughter houses through auction.
  • Pastoralists sell to middlemen who transport livestock to big towns like Nairobi.


  • Most beef is consumed locally although there is a large surplus for export.
  • Marketing channels are mainly found in urban areas such as Buenos Aires and Rosario.
  • Beef and beef products undergo stringent sanitary tests and certification before exportation.
  • Chilled or corned beef is exported to European countries such as Germany.

Role to the Economies

  • It’s a source of foreign exchange when beef and beef products are exported.
  • Provides employment to people working in ranches, slaughter houses, butcheries etc.
  • Saves foreign exchange by supplying beef for local consumption.
  • Provides income to farmers and butchers raising their standard of living.
  • Has promoted development of industries by providing raw materials e.g. shoe making.
  • The governments earn revenue from tax levied on beef products.
  • In Argentina it has led to infrastructural improvement from the interior to the coast to ease transportation.

Problems Facing Beef Farming


  • Refer to problems facing pastoralism and improvements by the government.


  • Diseases such as rinderpest, African swine fever, foot and mouth.
  • Stringent sanitary conditions which have to be fulfilled before exporting beef and beef products.
  • International trade barriers due to diseases such as mad cow diseases which has restricted exportation to processed beef only.
  • Economic and political crisis.



  • Indigenous and exotic breeds are kept in both countries.
  • Beef animals kept are similar e.g. Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, etc.
  • Beef farming is for local and export market in both countries.
  • There is employment of modern methods of farming in countries e.g. cross breeding, AI and research.
  • Both experience the problem of pests and diseases.
  • Ranching is common in both countries.


  • Argentina has extensive natural pastures while Kenya has inadequate pastures.
  • There is a higher local demand for beef in Argentina than in Kenya due to low purchasing power.
  • Pests and diseases are a major problem in Kenya while in Argentina the problem has been controlled.
  • In Argentina beef farming is mainly carried out in extensive ranches while in Kenya it’s mainly carried out by small scale farmers and ranches are few.
  • Farmers in Argentina have more access to capital while Kenyan farmers have inadequate capital.
  • There is a well developed transport network in Argentina while Kenyan roads are poor which hinders transport to markets.
  • Beef farming is more highly mechanised in Argentina than Kenya.

3. Mixed Farming

  • Growing crops and rearing animals on the same farm.


  • Crops are grown and animals reared on the same farm.
  • Portion of land is reserved for animal pasture.
  • Farms are moderate in size.
  • Crop residue is used for fodder.
  • Manure from animals is used to fertilise the soil.


  • When crop fails or prices fluctuate the farmer can depend on livestock and vice versa.
  • The farmer gets income continually.
  • Income is larger.
  • Farmer is busy throughout the year.
  • Using crop residue as fodder saves money for buying it.
  • Using manure from animals ensures sustained crop production and also saves money that would be used to buy manure.

Share this:

EcoleBooks | Geography Form 3 Notes : Agriculture 2 - LIVESTOCK FARMING


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Accept Our Privacy Terms.*