Maasai herding - An analysis of the livestock production system of Maasai pastoralists in eastern Kajiado District, Kenya

Table of Contents


Edited by

Solomon Bekure
P.N. de Leeuw
B.E. Grandin
P.J.H. Neate




Correct citation: Solomon Bekure, de Leeuw P N. Grandin B E and Neate P J H (eds). 1991. Maasai herding: An analysis of the livestock production system of Maasai pastoralists in eastern Kajiado District, Kenya. ILCA Systems Study 4. ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 172 pp.

ISBN 92-9053-176-2

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software and careful manual recorrection. Even if the quality of digitalisation is high, the FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 An outline of the study
1.2 Schema of a pastoral production system
1.3 Research methods

1.3.1 Interdisciplinary approach
1.3.3 The north-south difference
1.3.4 Scope of data collection


Chapter 2: Introduction to the Kenyan rangelands and Kajiado district

2.1 Agroclimatic zones and livestock carrying capacity
2.2 Livestock production systems
2.3 Kajiado Massailand: The biophysical environment and infrastructure

2.3.1 Physiography
2.3.2 Climate
2.3.3 Vegetation
2.3.4 Water resources
2.3.5 Herbivore population
2.3.6 Infrastructure


Chapter 3: the Maasai: Socio-historical context and group ranches

3.1 Maasai social structure

3.1.1 Introduction
3.1.2 Socio-spatial integration
3.1.3 Cross-linkages
3.1.4 Summary

3.2 Kajiado District: An historical overview of land use and policy

3.2.1 Human and livestock population trends
3.2.2 Historical influences on land use6
3.2.3 Origins of the group ranches

3.3 The socio economic impact of group ranches in Kajiado Maasailand

3.3.1 The planners' concept of the group ranches
3.3.2 The land adjudication process
3.3.3 Phase I group ranches9
3.3.4 Subsequent phases of group ranch development
3.3.5 Group ranch functioning
3.3.6 The impact of group ranches on territorial organisation and administration
3.3.7 Pressure for subdivision of group ranches

3.4 A summary of major changes in the last 20 years

3.4.1 Technical parameters
3.4.2 Social parameters


Chapter 4: The study area: Biophysical environment

4.1 Land, people and domestic and wild herbivores
4.2 Landscapes, soils and vegetation
4.3 Climate
4.4 Rangeland production

4.4.1 Biomass yield, rainfall and growing season
4.4.2 Forage quality
4.4.3 Carrying capacity

4.5 Water resources

Chapter 5: The study area: Socio-spatial organisation and land use

5.1 The household and the boma

5.1.1 Household size and composition
5.1.2 Boma size and composition

5.2 Residence patterns

5.2.1 Introduction
5.2.2 Neighbourhoods and reserved grazing areas

5.3 Water utilisation, grazing patterns and stocking rates

5.3.1 Water utilisation in the northern ranches
5.3.2 Grazing patterns and stocking rates in the northern ranches
5.3.3 Grazing patterns and stocking rates in the southern ranch


Chapter 6: Labour and livestock management

6.1 Labour1

6.1.1 Introduction
6.1.2 Division of responsibility and labour in livestock production
6.1.3 Actual labour inputs
6.1.5 Labour sufficiency
6.1.6 Labour recruitment for herding
6.1.7 Cooperative herding arrangements

6.2 Livestock management practices

6.2.1 Introduction
6.2.2 Watering management
6.2.3 Herd management and behaviour
6.2.4 Calf management
6.2.5 Management of young smallstock
6.2.6 Animal health care


Chapter 7: Productivity of cattle and smallstock

7.1 Cattle productivity

7.1.1 Introduction
7.1.2 Herd composition
7.1.3 Breeds and weights
7.1.4 Reproductive performance
7.1.5 Mortality and disease incidence
7.1.6 Growth of young stock
7.1.7 Milk offtake and lactation yield
7.1.8 Productivity index

7.2 Smallstock productivity

7.2.1 Introduction
7.2.2 Flock composition
7.2.3 Reproductive performance
7.2.4 Mortality and disease incidence
7.2.5 Growth performance
7.2.6 Productivity index


Chapter 8: Livestock transactions, food consumption and household budgets

8.1 Functions of livestock

8.1.1 Short-term objectives
8.1.2 Long-term objectives

8.2 Livestock utilisation: Transactions for offtake and acquisition2

8.2.1 Introduction
8.2.2 Sales and purchases
8.2.3 Exchange
8.2.4 Gifts and other social transactions
8.2.5 Slaughter
8.2.6 Annual offtake and acquisition
8.2.7 Net offtake and inventory change

8.3 Milk sales
8.4 Milk, food consumption and nutritional status
8.5 Household patterns of income and expenditure

8.5.1 Cash income
8.5.2 Patterns of cash expenditure


Chapter 9: An economic analysis of Maasai livestock production

9.1 Costs of and returns to production

9.1.1 Gross annual output
9.1.2 Net annual output

9.2 Cattle marketing

9.2.1 The Emali cattle market
9.2.2 Transactions
9.2.3 Sources of cattle
9.2.4 Sellers and buyers
9.2.5 Buying in the hinterland
9.2.6 Destination of cattle traded
9.2.7 Characteristics of cattle traded
9.2.8 Cattle supply and prices
9.2.9 Efficiency of the cattle marketing system in eastern Kajiado
9.2.10 Problems of the livestock marketing system

9.3 Terms of trade for Maasai pastoralists

Chapter 10: The long-term productivity of the Maasai livestock production system

10.1 Inputs for the simulation models

10.1.1 Fodder resources
10.1.2 The herd-projection model
10.1.3 Long-term milk supplies
10.1.4 Culling, sales and purchase policies

10.2 Results

10.2.1 Herd size and stocking rate
10.2.2 Herd productivity
10.2.3 Milk offtake
10.2.4 Net output
10.2.5 Effects of increased offtake of steers on herd and ranch productivity


Chapter 11: The potential for improving the livestock production and welfare of the pastoral Maasai

11.1 Improvements in feed resources

11.1.1 Introduction
11.1.2 Improvement of grazing and watering management
11.1.3 Rehabilitation of degraded areas
11.1.4 Intensification of land use and feed gardens
11.1.5 Forage conservation

11.2 The improvement of cattle productivity

11.2.1 introduction
11.2.2 Supplementary feeding of calves
11.2.3 Breed improvement

11.3 Improvement in smallstock productivity

11.3.1 Introduction
11.3.2 Improvement in reproductive performance
11.3.3 Improvement in management
11.3.4 Improvement of breeding stock and health care

11.4 Improvement in livestock health care
11.5 The equity issue

11.5.1 Introduction
11.5.2 Reducing drought insecurity
11.5.3 Creating alternative investment opportunities
11.5.4 Taxing large-scale producers
11.5.5 Steer fattening

11.6 Improvements in livestock marketing

11.6.1 Promotion of smallstock markets
11.6.2 Improvements in cattle marketing infrastructure
11.6.3 Improving market information
11.6.4 Making credit available to livestock traders

11.7 Improvements in group ranch management and the extension service
11.8 Subdivision of group ranches
11.9 Rural development