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Participatory research approaches in the development of improved management practices in indigenous chickens production systems with smallholder farmers in Kenya

Ndegwa, J. M. (2012) Participatory research approaches in the development of improved management practices in indigenous chickens production systems with smallholder farmers in Kenya. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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This thesis is concerned with development of improved management practices in indigenous chicken production systems in a research process that includes participatory approaches with smallholder farmers and other stakeholders in Kenya. The research process involved a wide range of activities that included on-station experiments, field surveys, stakeholder consultations in workshops, seminars and visits, and on-farm farmer participatory research to evaluate the effect of some improved management interventions on production performance of indigenous chickens. The participatory research was greatly informed from collective experiences and lessons of the previous activities. The on-station studies focused on hatching, growth and nutritional characteristics of the indigenous chickens. Four research publications from these studies are included in this thesis. Quantitative statistical analyses were applied and they involved use of growth models estimated with non-linear regressions for the growth characteristics, chi-square determinations to investigate differences among different reciprocal crosses of indigenous chickens and general linear models and covariance determination for the nutrition study. The on-station studies brought greater understanding of performance and production characteristics of indigenous chickens and the influence of management practices on these characteristics. The field surveys and stakeholder consultations helped in understanding the overarching issues affecting the productivity of the indigenous chickens systems and their place in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. These activities created strong networking opportunities with stakeholders from a wide spectrum. The on-farm farmer participatory research involved selection of 200 farmers in five regions followed by training and introduction of interventions on improved management practices which included housing, vaccination, deworming and feed supplementation. Implementation and monitoring was mainly done by individual farmers continuously for close to one and half years. Six quarterly visits to the farms were made by the research team to monitor and provide support for on-going project activities. The data collected has been analysed for 5 consecutive 3-monthly periods. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to analyse the data collected involving treatment applications, production characteristics and flock demography characteristics. Out of the 200 farmers initially selected, 173 had records on treatment applications and flock demography characteristics while 127 farmers had records on production characteristics. The demographic analysis with a dissimilarity index of flock size produced 7 distinct farm groups from among the 173 farms. Two of these farm groups were represented in similar numbers in each of the five regions. The research process also involved a number of dissemination and communication strategies that have brought the process and project outcomes into the domain of accessibility by wider readership locally and globally. These include workshops, seminars, field visits and consultations, local and international conferences, electronic conferencing, publications and personal communication via emailing and conventional posting. A number of research and development proposals were also developed based on the knowledge and experiences gained from the research process. The thesis captures the research process activities and outcomes in 8 chapters which include in ascending order – introduction, theoretical concepts underpinning FPR, research methodology and process, on-station research output, FPR descriptive statistical analysis, FPR inferential statistical analysis on production characteristics, FPR demographic analysis and conclusions. Various research approaches both quantitative and qualitative have been applied in the research process indicating the possibilities and importance of combining both systems for greater understanding of issues being studied. In our case, participatory studies of the improved management of indigenous chickens indicates their potential importance as livelihood assets for poor people.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Mead, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:35124


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