Gracinda Mataveia * **, Abubeker Hassen** and Carina Visser**
* Department of Clinics, Faculty of Veterinary, University of Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique
** Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Goats play a vital role in food security and contribute to improved livelihoods for various resource-poor communities. In Africa, goats are deeply entrenched in almost every African culture, particularly within those communities that are not able to keep large livestock. Goats have a relatively high productivity in harsh environments, use inexpensive feed resources, have a short reproductive cycle and have higher prolificacy when compared to cows. These animals also have a beneficial effect on income generation and provide social and economic security to rural communities.
Goat production has increased during the last decade and there are currently more than 1 billion goats, globally. Approximately 96% of these animals are meat goats and are found in developing countries in Asia and Africa. The African goat population has also increased over the last five years to approximately 422.7 million goats, representing 40.9% of the world’s goat population. Approximately 35 million of these goats are part of the Southern African population. Mozambique has around 3.94 million goats, ranking fifth among African countries in terms of its goat population. Of the total number of goats in Mozambique, smallholder farmers keep 97.7%, while only 2.27% are part of medium-scale systems and a negligible 0.07% is produced in intensive systems.
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.