Design and Application of Bio-economic Modelling in Livestock Genetic Improvement in Kenya: A Review
Bio-economic modelling in livestock production systems presents the opportunity for incorporating some elements of human decision making and simulates the impact of such decisions using mathematical relationships produced from biological and economic parameters. This paper has reviewed the processes of bio-economic modelling as applied to livestock genetic improvement especially in simulating profitability of alternative enterprises as well as estimation of biological and economic weights. A collection of country specific bio-economic models developed for different species of livestock have been critically analysed in describing their design and application. Participation of target group farmers in design and implementation of the models with respect to their reliability has been presented. It is found that most models were generated from animal lifecycle on farm while considering animal age groups, biological and economic parameters influencing revenues and costs. The differences in the level of participation closely related to the production system of target farmers. Bioeconomic models have remained a tool for professional animal breeders with little extension of the technique to fit farmers’ preferences. In most cases, livestock farmers had very little control of the estimates of parameters generated from bio-economic modelling. Farmer-based option (accounting for risks) of bio-economic modelling could increase acceptability and utilisation of estimates derived from them. Therefore design and application of bio-economic models for livestock genetic improvement could greatly benefit from participation of target groups and incorporation of sensitive systemic variables to improve repackaging of information that enhance sustainable adoption by actors in the livestock industry.