While many contemporary development programs with regard to Sub-Saharan Africa’s pastoralists promote improved livestock marketing as a way out of poverty, they also fail to take into account the multi-functionality of livestock within these communities, and thus are doomed to failure. While livestock are a main source of income for the pastoralist household, they also serve a purpose as a store of wealth, food source, and status symbol. Furthermore, cattle and smallstock (sheep and goats) fulfill each function to a different degree. Since livestock are so multi-functional, marketing projects could better achieve their objectives if they had a more accurate picture of what motivates household livestock sale decisions. To get a better understanding of why livestock are sold in one community of Central Kenya, we regressed household offtake rate of both cattle and smallstock against certain household characteristics, including number of household members, number of children, education, and employment. Additionally, we used a logit model to determine if those same characteristics affect the overall decision to sell instead of just the offtake rate. We found that employment or self-employment of at least one household member significantly affected both offtake rate and sale decision. In addition, the number of household members and number of children in school had varying affects on cattle and smallstock offtake rates. The results regarding smallstock suggest that they are considered a more liquid asset, so perhaps future programs should target increasing the profitability of smallstock production as opposed to cattle production. Overall, our analysis shows that community livestock sales are motivated by factors other than price, and as such should be considered in the design of any future marketing programs.


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