Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 50, Issue 7, pp 1701–1710 | Cite as

Analysis of pastoralists’ perception on challenges and opportunities for sheep and goat production in Northern Kenya

  • Mohamed Haji Abdilatif
  • Joshua Orungo Onono
  • Florence Kanini Mutua
Regular Articles


Small ruminants’ production contributes to livelihood of pastoral communities, but this faces myriad constraints. This study aimed at identifying challenges facing producers of small ruminants, prioritizing diseases and their control measures and documenting opportunities for improvement. Sixteen focus group discussions with livestock owners and 13 key informant interviews were done in selected areas in Mandera County, Northern Kenya, and both quantitative and qualitative data collected using a questionnaire guide. Occurrences of diseases (27.4%) and drought (25%) were consistently ranked high in all groups. Other production challenges included increased predation of livestock, inadequate delivery of veterinary services, and increased livestock mortalities. Peste des Petit ruminants was ranked high with a median rank of 21.5%, while contagious caprine pleuropneumonia and sheep and goat pox were ranked second and third, respectively. Other diseases included tick-borne diseases, helminthosis, and pneumonia. Vaccination was ranked as the most effective control strategy for infectious diseases. Other control measures included recitation of Quran and cauterization. However, several opportunities exist for support of small ruminants’ production: increased budgetary allocation for disease control by government, initiation of projects that enhance livestock production in the region by government and its development partners. These findings are useful for policy makers for disease control and organizations that are working on projects that focuses on enhancement of pastoralists’ resilience, while future research could also identify appropriate technologies that reduces these impacts.


Production challenges Participatory techniques Pastoralists Sheep and goats 



Agency for Technical Corporation and Development


analysis of variance


arid and semi-arid lands


Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine


Community Animal Health workers


contagious caprine pleuropneumonia


County Integrated Development Plan


Community-Managed Drought Risk Response


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


focus group discussions


foot and mouth disease


growth domestic product


Inter-governmental Agency for Development


key informant interviews


Kenya National Bureau of Statistics


National Drought Management Authority


non-governmental organizations


World Animal Health Organization


doctor of philosophy


Peste des Petit ruminants


sheep and goat pox


tick-borne diseases



The first author would like to thank the following: IGAD for the financial support, the pastoralist in Mandera county for their invaluable discussions, the livestock and veterinary service providers in Mandera county for their time, and finally the director of veterinary service in Mandera County, Dr. Ali Noor Mohamed, for facilitating field visits and providing information throughout this study.

Authors’ contributions

All authors read and approved the manuscript.


This study was supported by the funds from Inter-governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) as part of the scholarship for the first author’s Master of Science in Veterinary epidemiology and economics. However, the funding was limited and only covered 50% of the research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Competing interest

We declare that we have no competing interest.

Ethics consideration and consent of participants

The study was conducted following the University of Nairobi regulations for field research. An introductory letter was obtained from the chairman of the Department of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Nairobi, which was sent to the Director of Veterinary services, Mandera County. Additionally, before any group discussions and interviews began, each respondent was informed of the objectives of the study. They were also informed of their confidentiality and were assured that data collected would only be used for research purposes. The respondent retained the right to decide whether they would participate or not and were free to withdraw from the study at any stage of the interview.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Agriculture and Veterinary SciencesUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya

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