The study examines cattle keeping households preferences for phenotypic cattle traits in trypanosomosis prevalent production systems of Kenya and Ethiopia, using cross-sectional choice experiment survey data of 508 households. The data was collected between September 2004 and May 2005. Further, it investigates potentially sustainable pathways by which the households can access improved cattle breeds based on their traits of preferences. Mixed logit model has been employed to investigate existence of preference heterogeneity, while a latent class model is used to investigate the sources of heterogeneity and presence of endogenous preference segmentation for cattle traits amongst the cattle keeping households. The results reveal significant preference heterogeneity among the households based on the cattle production systems. Highly valued traits for the cropping systems include traction fitness and trypanotolerance, while traits associated with herd increase are considered important in pastoral systems. Considering heterogeneity within population segments provides a framework for adapting breeding policy interventions to specific producer segments, by integrating preferred traits in a breed improvement program. Additional results indicate that communal breeding initiatives provide important pathways through which resource-poor cattle keepers can access improved livestock breeds. Factors that influence a households willingness to participate in such a collective action decision are analyzed using a binary logit model.