The objective of this review was to determine challenges and opportunities facing dairy cattle production in Homa Bay County, which lies within the Lake Victoria basin. Three cattle production systems were included: farms keeping indigenous breeds; farms keeping crosses of indigenous and exotic breeds and farms keeping exotic breeds. Both primary and secondary data were collected using questionnaires, key informant interview, published grey literature sources and institutional websites. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and One-way analysis of variance used as inferential analysis at 5% level of significance, while qualitative data were summarized using themes. Among the different cattle breeds raised, milk was predominantly produced by indigenous type. Most farms owned about 4 acres of land, with farms keeping indigenous breeds owning 7 herds of cattle while farms keeping crosses and pure exotic breeds kept 4 and 3 herds of cattle, respectively. Daily milk yield from exotic breeds was 18 L, while indigenous breed produced 1.7 L. Milk was sold to neighbours, local markets and for household consumption. Farmers faced challenges with regard to quality and unavailability of feeds during drought periods, controlling livestock diseases, sources of information and breeding services. The County government and its development partners implemented projects on dairy productivity: fixed-time artificial insemination project and introduction of Brachiaria grass which is drought resistant and have high protein content. This report presents findings which are important for policy making on dairy farming and lessons on how public and private sector partnership can alleviate challenges facing dairy farming.
Key words: Challenges and opportunities, dairy cattle farming, western Kenya.
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