Najmeh Kargar (1), Nader Papi (2), and Farhad Mirzaei (2)
1. Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Animal Science Research Department, Kerman Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Kerman, Iran.
2. Agricultural Research Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Animal Science Institute of Iran, Karaj.
History of goat breeding in the province
To know the history of raising Cashmere goats, one should refer to Kerman’s history of cashmere products. Raising Cashmere goats was earlier than the cashmere products. The shawl was one of the essential cashmere products in the past. The definition of shawl by Dehkhoda is cashmere or wool textiles woven in Iran, especially in the city of Kerman. Also, a shawl is defined by Moin: as a simple or patterned textile that is woven from cashmere or wool. For the first time in historical references (Georgie Zidane), the Kermani shawl is mentioned around 333AH and 944AD. Marco Polo refers to knitted products in Kerman in his travelogue. Telegrapher reported 15,000 shawls woven and many shawls production workshops in Kerman in 1879. During the reign of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, the number of Cashmere goats grew in other areas of Iran, but the quality and quantity of cashmere production declined. Bastani Parizi believes that the production of desirable cashmere is due to the low rainfall in Kerman.
Geographic distribution areas
Most of the goat population in Kerman are Cashmere goats, except those are in hot areas of the south, which borders the Hormozgan province. In the eastern and the northern regions of the Kerman province, goats are small with red, black, and brown cashmere color, and they are compatible with harsh climates and arid areas. Raeini Cashmere goats are the most important native cashmere goat breed in Kerman that is raised mainly in the central highlands and western province (the city of Baft, Sirjan, Rabor, and Bardsir). Raeini Cashmere goat breeders are mostly nomads of Raeini, Ghoraba, Jabal Barezi, Afshar, Behzadi, and Lori. The Raeini tribe is the foremost breeder of Raeini Cashmere goat with pure herds, and also where the Raeini name for this breed is derived. The Raeini tribe migrates from the highland regions (the city of Baft, Sirjan, Rabor, and Bardsir) to warmer areas in the southern Kerman province and adjacent to the Persian Gulf in Hormozgan province.
The cashmere goat population of Kerman is about 2 million heads.
The types of rearing systems
Nomadic groups raise most cashmere goats in herds, while many modern goat rearing methods remain unutilized.
About 12,000 farmers are directly involved in cashmere goat husbandry, which plays a significant economic role in rural and nomad farmers’ livelihood.
Cultural, social and economic relations with nomadic and rural communities
The Raeini Cashmere goat is well known for producing high-quality cashmere. However, a lack of processing chains in the Kerman province, where the raw cashmere is sold to dealers and producers, does not achieve fair prices due to the marketing system. The value of milk production, dairy products, and meat are currently more than cashmere, so some nomads were willing to increase their economic return from their goat herds through crossbreeding with dairy and meat breeds. Fortunately, this has not hampered this breed’s walking and mountain climbing ability.
Raeini Cashmere goats have two types of coating (fiber): hair and undercoat fiber (cashmere). The fiber colors are: white, light brown to dark brown, and gray. Most of these goats have horns; female (doe) horns are thin, while male (buck) horns are thick. Their breast is infundibular, and their neck is short. The first cashmere appears on the neck at the beginning of spring. With the growth of the animal, cashmere shedding begins in the posterior area towards the rump.
Raeini goats produce a high-quality cashmere. The price of this luxury fiber ranks high to very high in world markets. With increased fiber production as a non-oil commodity exchange technology, it can be exported.
Items use of products
Goats are mainly kept for selling live animals to local markets. Milk is processed into dairy products, including yogurt, butter, curds, cheese, and ghee, usually sold locally. The raw cashmere is typically sold to dealers, and as a result of the marketing system, producers do not achieve fair prices.
Measures for identifying and genetic improvement
The Rearing and Breeding Station of Raeini Cashmere goats is located near Baft city in the south-east of Kerman province. It was established to preserve, protect, and breed Raeini Cashmere goats. Its main objective is to produce superior males (bucks) and distribute them among local goat breeders.
Suggestions for ways to improve performance
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.