Validating the Classification of Smallholder Dairy Farming Systems Based on Herd Genetic Structure and Access to Breeding Services
Smallholder dairy farming in Africa is classified into rural, peri-urban and urban systems. The major classification criterion is demographic. Dairy systems are extensively characterized, but not based on rigorous statistical analyses. We validated this classification based on herd genetic structure and identify determinants of within-system variations, taking Ethiopia as a case study. Discriminant function analysis correctly classified 38% -50.6% of the 360 sampled farms into the three
... o the three systems. Multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that rural and peri-urban farmers were 1.26 (P < 0.1) to 1.45 (P < 0.001) times more likely to keep local and low grade crossbreds and fewer high grade crosses (P < 0.05; odds ratio = 2.35) than the urban farmers. In the rural system, proportion of high grade crosses declined and low grades increased over generations, whereas in urban system the reverse was observed. Access to breeding services and land resources significantly determined the adoption of crossbred dairy herd within systems. In conclusion, considering farms within systems as a uniform unit to target development interventions may not be appropriate and thus farm topologies and system specific determinants of farmers' breeding strategies need to be considered to design and introduce appropriate breeding interventions.