Kenya's dairy industry is the largest and one of the most successful in Africa. Private sector dominates the sector and milk production is majorly from small-scale farms. Despite the policies in place for the dairy subsector, smallholder dairy farmers in Kenya still exhibit poor economic status mostly attributed to inefficiencies and inadequacies in production and commercialization that differs from farmer to farmer. This study sought to establish the smallholder dairy farming typologies and their underlying determinants. The study obtained data from a cross section survey of farmers in Nyandarua and Nakuru counties of Kenya where dairy activities are predominant. Data was collected from 380 smallholder dairy farmers identified using stratified random sampling. Data analysis was by Principal Components Analysis and Cluster Analysis. Results of Principal Component Analysis showed that the smallholders' dairy farming differed because of output, land, household assets, and infrastructure components. Cluster Analysis results indicated three significantly different smallholder dairy farming typologies i.e. Low resource endowed and lower market oriented, Moderate resource endowed and moderate market oriented and High resource endowed and high market oriented. The determinants of smallholder dairy typologies were land factors, years of dairy farming, stock of dairy animals kept, labor engaged, household income, farming assets, dairy output and consumption levels and costs of production. The study recommended policies that would increase access to land through land reform processes, financial accessibility, and adequate infrastructure needed by the smallholder dairy farmers.
Keywords: Smallholder Dairy, Principal Components Analysis, Cluster Analysis, Characterization, Farming Typologies, Kenya