Written by Angelika Stemmer, IGA Country Representative for Bolivia
San Simon University, Cochabamba
In Bolivia, goats are raised almost exclusively by smallholders, who practice farming, animal holding, and other activities.
Smallholders don’t consider goats the most important part of their work because other animals and crops can contribute more in terms of financial revenue. Nevertheless, goats have their value in difficult years, when crops fail or after natural disasters. They are the one species which manages to survive with little loss and they recover more rapidly. Accordingly, most goats are found in marginal areas, the arid and semi-arid zones which lack infrastructure.
In Bolivia, some cattle and camelid breeders have organizations. There are none for breeders of other animal species, as far as I am aware.
The Agricultural Faculty of San Simon University in Cochabamba, Bolivia, was host to a practical course on goat and sheep raising that was organized by the Small Ruminant Programme. The ten participants were smallholders from the Northern Potosi region. Personnel of the Small Ruminant Programme shared practical and theoretical classes about husbandry, animal welfare, nutrition, health, reproduction and breeding of goats and sheep during two days in February 2017.
The practical work was carried out with the institutional flock. The participants learned about the management of the flock, correct handling of sheep and goats, age estimation, hoof trimming, appraisal of body condition, weighing of animals, supplementary feeds, importance and scope of feed analysis, correct handling of syringes, calculation of doses of medicine, application of injectable vitamins, prevention of diseases, importance and use of record keeping, and visual assessment of male and female breeding animals. All participants were very interested in the course, developed skills and abilities, and received their certificates at the end of the course.
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.