Com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion to en­hance goat pro­duc­tion

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THERE is a need for goat farm­ers to move from sub­sis­tence to more com­mer­cial ori­ented pro­duc­tion so as to re­alise the po­ten­tial of good eco­nomic re­turns from their agri­cul­tural en­ter­prise, of­fi­cials have said.

Speak­ing at a two-day goat train­ing workshop re­cently, Mata­bele­land Goat Sheep and Poul­try Trust (MGSPT) board chair­per­son Mr Din­gaan Ndlovu who is also the di­rec­tor of Bu­l­away­obased agri­cul­ture con­sul­tancy firm Health Ex­cel­lence said im­proved goat hus­bandry was likely to im­prove the coun­try’s herd and qual­ity for ex­port.

“We need to ed­u­cate and en­lighten farm­ers on the pres­ence of a po­ten­tial mar­ket for both meat and milk. We don’t have many goats to sat­isfy the ex­ter­nal mar­ket so the other thrust is to mo­ti­vate farm­ers to be ready to sup­ply the ex­port mar­ket,” said Mr Ndlovu.

He said farm­ers can also re­alise op­ti­mum ben­e­fits from goats through value ad­di­tion.

“Af­ter this train­ing, most farm­ers will be able to go into goat milk and value ad­di­tion for the pro­duc­tion of cheese and yo­ghurts,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Dairy goat pro­duc­tion is an al­ter­na­tive live­stock en­ter­prise suit­able for many small-scale or part-time live­stock op­er­a­tions. Matopo Re­search In­sti­tute re­search tech­ni­cian Ms Obey Daga said there is a need for farm­ers to com­mer­cialise goat rear­ing so as to run their en­ter­prises prof­itably.

“These train­ings help goat farm­ers to be com­mer­cially ori­ented as they were pro­duc­ing as sub­sis­tence farm­ers. Now we want to drive them to­wards com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion and en­sure that they take goat pro­duc­tion as an en­ter­prise that will bring them cash.

“We are be­ing mo­ti­vated by the Asian mar­ket, which is in need of huge sup­plies of goat meat. We can­not sat­isfy their de­mands since our goat pop­u­la­tion is very low. Farm­ers are pro­duc­ing just for their fam­i­lies while they can pro­duce ex­cess even for ex­port­ing,” she said.

Ms Daga said goat breed­ing is ex­pected to play an im­por­tant role in mit­i­gat­ing and adapt­ing to cli­mate change in harsh en­vi­ron­ments.

The eco­nomic im­por­tance of goat pro­duc­tion has been in­creased dur­ing the last decades all over the world, pre­dom­i­nantly in coun­tries that are rou­tinely ex­posed to harsh en­vi­ron­ment. Goats have nu­mer­ous ad­van­tages that en­able them to main­tain their pro­duc­tion un­der ex­treme cli­mate con­di­tions.

“With the cli­mate change in sight goats must be given spe­cial rear­ing at­ten­tion but many farm­ers, es­pe­cially in the ru­ral ar­eas and new re­set­tle­ment ar­eas are un­aware of this be­cause usu­ally when peo­ple are pro­duc­ing for sub­sis­tence they don’t fo­cus on the health or the feed­ing part of the an­i­mals.

“If they are now com­mer­cially ori­ented they will cal­cu­late ev­ery­thing in mon­e­tary value and will be able to gauge whether they are mak­ing prof­its or losses be­cause ev­ery­thing will be in mon­e­tary terms as they will eval­u­ate what they are putting in and what they get af­ter sales,” said Ms Daga.

Par­tic­i­pants at the workshop were also im­parted with the req­ui­site skills in fod­der pro­duc­tion and an­i­mal health care.

@judiephiri9

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