Livelihoods of many rural households in the developing economies majorly depend on smallholder farming activities. Smallholder dairy farming is the single largest component of agriculture in Kenya. Uasin Gishu County is the leading milk producer in Kenya with subsistence, semi-commercialized and commercialized farmers constituting 70, 20 and 10%, respectively. Smallholder dairy farming in Kenya grows at 4.1% per annum compared to 1.2% for agriculture as a whole. Commercializing smallholder dairy value chain is therefore important in providing pathway out of poverty, and for sustainable rural development. Commercialization of smallholder dairy value chain development is variable and is not yet developed enough in the scale of commercialization index to enable producers benefit from increased income to stimulate rural development. This may be because of the influences of Socio-cultural characteristics of the smallholder producers. The objective of this study is to find out the influence of socio-cultural characteristics on commercialization of smallholder dairy value chain development. Social survey research design was used to obtain both secondary and primary data. A sample size of 384 smallholder dairy producers was studied out of a total population of 50,457 respondents. Data analysis procedures used in this study includes: mean, standard deviation, Pearson correlation coefficient, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and multiple regressions. The results of this study showed that the socio-cultural characteristics of smallholder dairy producers have significant influence on the commercialization of smallholder dairy value chain development.
Key words: Commercialization, smallholder dairy producers, smallholder dairy value chain development, socio-cultural characteristics, Uasin Gishu County.
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