Commercialisation to enhance goat production
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.