Former ABCF fellow’s research is conserving and improving indigenous goats in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Written by Mwihaki Mundia
Livestock farming is an important source of income in rural households in African countries. Goats, which were one of the first animals to be domesticated in the continent, are especially important in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they are kept by 75% of the rural population and provide up to 72% of the household income through the sale of meat, milk and live animals.
More than 4 million indigenous goats are kept by farmers in the DRC. These animals mainly fall under three local breeds locally known as ‘chèvre moyenne du Congo’ or the small goat of Congo; ‘chèvre du Kasai’ or Kasai goat and the ‘chèvre de Bandundu’ or dwarf goat of Congo; which are spread across all three agro-ecological zones of the country. As in eastern Africa, goats in the DRC are raised in marginal areas where crop production is low.
Congolese Patrick Baenyi, a former Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund (ABCF) fellow at the Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI) Hub aims to improve the livelihoods of rural households in his country by conserving and improving indigenous goats through a better understanding of their genetic diversity and population composition.
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.