Improved Livestock Breeds and Household Social Capital: The Case of Sahiwal Cattle Adoption among Isiria Maasai of Narok County, Kenya
Shivachi, Taji Isindu
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The utilization of pastoral resources such as grasses, shrubs, water and salt-licks is an aspect social capital. However, with climatic and socio-economic changes traditional cattle production and livelihood outcomes including social capital may be impacted. As a result pastoralists devise mechanism to ameliorate any negative effects of the changes. Governments d other agencies have also intervened in the pastoral production systems to align them to current realities. In 1991, the Government of Kenya and the Federal Republic of Germany introduced the Sahiwal cattle to the Isiria Maasai of Narok County to improve cattle production. Studies on the effect of such interventions on social capital are few and the existing ones are narrowed to at most three aspects of social capital. Thus, this study was formulated to investigate the association between adoption of Sahiwal cattle and household social capital among Isiria Maasai pastoralists. The study considered ten aspects of social capital which adopted a cross-sectional social survey and it utilised both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. A multi-stage proportional sampling procedure was used to select a sample of 400 households to participate in the study. Results of the study indicated that over three-quarters (86.6%) of the respondents had adopted Sahiwal cattle and a majority (95.4%) had a moderate/medium level of social capital. Age and level of formal education had an effect on the level of social capital. Respondents scored highly on two aspects of social capital – friendship (84.4%) and information j communication (83.5%). Data revealed that the association between adoption of Sahiwal cattle and household social capital was negative, weak and not significant at the 0.05 level of significance. Nevertheless, the association was significant for the four aspects of social capital – solidarity, information and communication, safety as well as empowerment and political action. Thus, the study concluded that whereas there may not be any association between adoptions of improved cattle and overall household social capital, it may be possible that an association exists with some of its aspects.
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