Livestock are of vital importance to the livelihoods of millions of people across the world, playing a pivotal role in income generation, employment, food security, transport and social cohesion. Access to quality animal-health services by livestock owners is critical to sustainable food-animal production; therefore, animal-health practitioners represent key stakeholders within the world food system. A mixed-method study was conducted in the Rift Valley of Kenya to characterise and compare existing private animal-health services and to explore perceptions of veterinary services amongst pastoralists and farmers. Forty structured questionnaires were administered to staff at animal-health outlets, including franchise outlets of ‘Sidai Africa Ltd.’, and two focus group discussions were facilitated to explore the perceptions of a Maasai pastoralist group and members of a dairy-farmer cooperative of their local animal-health services. Results were analysed using descriptive methods and the confidence interval overlap technique. Differences were detected in the characteristics of Sidai outlets, agrovets (agricultural retailers), pharmacies and dukas (general shops). Sidai outlets offered a more professional and diverse portfolio of livestock services. Across all outlet types, staff knowledge and training gaps and a shortage of cold-chain facilities were identified. Farmers have strong preferences for certain products, which may foster the development of drug resistance. There is a disconnection between the sale of veterinary medicines and the provision of quality advice, with many agrovets, pharmacies and dukas selling veterinary medicines but lacking the capacity to provide clinical services. There is a clear demand from livestock keepers for accessible, affordable and quality animal-health services and products in Kenya; therefore, animal-health practitioners have the potential to provide increased support to livestock-based livelihoods.
- Service delivery
- Veterinary medicine