Economic valuation of sheep genetic resources: implications for sustainable utilization in the Kenyan semi-arid tropics


Sheep, recognised as one of the important livestock species especially in the semi-arid tropics with high genetic resource potentials, can be exploited through sustainable utilization in order to improve livestock keepers’ livelihoods. This study presents the evaluation of the economic values of sheep genetic resources (SGR) in terms of the important non-market traits embedded in sheep and how this information can be utilised to improve livelihoods in semi-arid regions. The results obtained from mixed logit models results derived from stated choice data collected from 157 respondents in the semi-arid Marsabit district of Kenya reveal that disease resistance is the most highly valued trait whose resultant increment results into a welfare improvement of up to KShs.1537. Drought tolerance and fat deposition traits were found to be implicitly valued at KShs.694 and 738 respectively. The results further point out that for livestock stakeholders to effectively improve the livelihoods of poor livestock-keepers, development strategies for improving the management and/or utilisation of SGR in terms of drought tolerance, should not only be tailor made to target regions that are frequently devastated by drought but should also succeed other strategies or efforts that would first lead to the improvement of producers’ economic status.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    A fixed parameter essentially treats the standard deviation as zero such that all the behavioural information is captured by the mean.

  2. 2.

    The percentages of populations were calculated using the following formula: \( {\text{Prob}}{\left( {b > 0} \right)} = {\text{Prob}}{\left( {Z > \frac{{ - mean}} {{}}} \right)} \) (also see Omondi (2007) for more elaborate exemplification).



animal genetic resources


Arid and Semi-Arid lands


choice experiment


ceteris paribus


Geographic Information System


mixed logit


sheep genetic resources


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the ILRI/BMZ (International Livestock Research Institute/German Ministry of Economic Cooperation) collaborative project based at ILRI, Nairobi. The contributions of Prof. Brigitte Kauffman, Dr. Eric Ruto, Dr. Samuel Mwakubo, Dr. Isaac S. Kosgey and Mr. Harun Warui are also greatly acknowledged as is the fieldwork logistical assistance provided by Messrs. Haro Guyo, Mamo Sora and Edward Leteror.

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Omondi, I., Baltenweck, I., Drucker, A.G. et al. Economic valuation of sheep genetic resources: implications for sustainable utilization in the Kenyan semi-arid tropics. Trop Anim Health Prod 40, 615–626 (2008).

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  • Choice experiments
  • Stated preference method
  • Sheep genetic resources
  • Traits
  • Economic valuation