Zimbabwe – Goat Farming as a Business: a farmer’s manual to successful goat production and marketing
Compiled by the Department of Agricultural Research and Extension,
Matopos Research Station
Represented by J.L.N. Sikosana & T.S. Senda
For the Department of Livestock Production and Development
Supported by: SNV–Netherlands Development Organization
There are more than 3.5 million goats in Zimbabwe, of which 98 percent are indigenous breeds and owned by the smallholder farmers. Most of them are kept in the drier agro-ecological zones in Natural Ecological Regions IV and V and in tse-tse infested areas. Natural Region IV has a low rainfall subject to periodic droughts and extended dry spells. Overall, the importance of goats increases as the rainfall decreases. Goats are hardy and easier animals to look after, which can survive under harsh environments.
Goats are reared under extensive farming conditions, mainly for meat (chevon) and to a lesser extent for milk. To some extent productivity of these goats is low due various factors such as high kid mortality and lack of good animal husbandry practices. Goats also provide skins of commercial importance and manure for gardens (and crop fields). In other parts of the world goats are kept for their wool (mohair).
Human populations are growing and creating a significant and increasing demand for additional animal protein foods. The goat can play an important role in meeting these demands. This calls for farmers to put value in their goat enterprises by shifting from subsistence production to commercial production. It is easier to increase the population of small ruminants (goats and sheep) than large stock. In economic terms the opportunity costs are low for goat production.
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