Goat farming improves peasantsí lot
are an essential part of small ruminant farming systems and
are raised for meat, milk, fibre, pelts and skins.
The relative importance of each of these products varies
from region to region and is largely determined by
ecological and economic factors.
Any attempt to improve performance under prev- ailing
conditions must take into consideration their specific
purpose in production system and performance potential under
varying management levels.
If goat production
improvement is to be successful, it must produce results
relevant to the production system and increase economic
returns to the producer.
Current prices for goats and lambs meat are very good
because goats mature quickly and have a short growth.
Farmers can bring products to market very quickly and
improve their cash flow. This also means that herd and flock
sizes can be rapidly increased. Return on investment is
usually better for small ruminant enterprises than for
The goat wealth is in the hands of poor people and its
farming carried out as a way of life instead on commercial
scale. Entrepreneurs do not operate their units at efficient
level due to lack of knowledge about modern farm practices.
No efforts have ever been
made to alter their practices. The goat owners can
commercialise their farming units by adopting modern
Goat farming has a great scope in sub-tropical climate with
the network of canal, forest areas, and pastures within
valleys, grasses along the canals and at roadsides, good
sunny days, ever increasing population and efficient labour
Rearing of goat has greater advantages over other livestock.
Shorter gestation periods, high frequency of multiple
births, high adoptability to different environments, feeding
on a variety of plant species, low water requirements, small
size and early maturity of small ruminants give goats
distinct economic advantage over other animals.
They can be raised even on
marginal lands and meagre resources.
Goat not only supplements the farmerís income but also
compliments the crop production business. It provides means
of subsistence to the poor and helps in overcoming under
employment in rural areas and enhances nutritional values of
food thus improving the socio-economic conditions of rural
According to the Livestock Census 1996, goat population was
24 per cent of the total livestock. The population increases
much higher due to migration in drought time as its meat is
preferred over beef and mutton. There are several
constraints hampering the development of meat production.
A total of 852,000 households
mainly landless farmers are reported to own goats which
mainly are raised for meat production.
Goat meat, milk and
the converted dairy products are valuable goods. Its
skin is of secondary importance because of economic
reasons. Goat farming forms an integral part of
agricultural production system as they are the main
source of animal protein for people particularly in
The animal converts
otherwise, unusable vegetation on non-cultivated poor
grazing lands and pasture to milk, meat, fibre and skins.
Realizing the importance of goat farming system in Sindh a
diagnostic survey was initiated by the Technology Transfer
Institute (TTI) PARC, Tandojam to find out its potentials in
Goat is a poor manís cow because of its ability to provide
meat, milk, skins and fibre for the farmer with a little
surplus left for sale. There are many reasons why goat
farming is more suitable than cattle for smallholders:
* The goat is cheaper to buy and replace, and easier to
obtain than the cattle.
* Its reproduction begins at an early age and is more
* It produces manageable amounts of meat, milk, skins and
fibre for family consumption or sale.
* It has an ability to survive on low quality foods or in
difficult conditions on relatively small amount of food.
* It integrates well with both crops and other livestock
* Its size makes it ideal for women and children to keep or
The principal task of poverty alleviation and development is
to increase farmersí income. There are many blocks to this
effort in poverty-stricken areas such as remote location and
difficult natural condition, inconvenient transportation,
information obstruction, industry singularity, lowly
educated labour, restricted conditions for industry and
commerce, and farmersí lack of ways for income increase.
However, these areas though underdeveloped are abundant in
resources for animal rearing. The natural condition is quite
suitable for goat farming.
Goat farming is an intermediary business that supports crop
farming and in initiating processing industry. It promotes
the development of related industries such as slaughterhouse
and meat processing, hide processing, clothing manufacture,
packing, transportation, and communication.
Goat development enables a part of agricultural land to turn
into nutrition producing. Goat farming through grass
planting reduces grain production and increases livestock
In mountainous areas, it not only utilises the increasing
grass resources with the national policy of returning
cropland to forests and grassland but also enables farmers
to make more money by getting motivated. It is an effective
way to solve the ecological deterioration problem resulting
from the uncontrolled crop farming.
Indigenous goat breeds are used in most underdeveloped areas
with little crossbreeding improvements. Such breeds are not
selected well resulting in closed-flock breeding with
falling productivity. Fine quality goat breed development is
a key to development and poverty alleviation.
Goat normally breeds thrice in two years by producing two or
three kids at a time. According to survey results, 60 per
cent goat gave twin births; 29 per cent single and 11 per
Traditional backyard rearing and extensive grazing in big
herds are still practiced. Advanced technologies like
compound feed and kid fattening are seldom conducted.
Management varies according to climatic conditions,
available vegetation and resources, disease control and
supplemented feed. It was found that 50 per cent animals
were fed from field; 20 per cent used stall feeding; and 21
per cent grazing and stall feeding.
Feeding types of goat found
that 51 per cent feeding was depended on tree leaves, cut
fodder and kitchen waste; 29 per cent on tree leaves and 20
per cent on cut fodder.
Disease prevention and control are neglected which causes a
vicious cycle that goats get fat in autumn, become skinny in
winter and die in spring. Survey results indicated that the
average mortality rate in adult was 14 goats with the loss
of Rs2,107 per goat per year while seven kids die thus
incurring loss of Rs696 per kids.
There are also problems of
small output rate and low reproduction rate.
Goat farming plays an important role as they do not require
costly inputs. They are the main source of animal protein
for people particularly in rural areas. Goat farming should
be based on rational exploitation of local resources, never
sacrificing the environment.
Goat farming in agricultural areas should make full use of
crop residues and planted grass while in pastoral area,
over-grazing should be avoided. In mountainous area, goat
can graze in hilly slopes and pastureland.
Crop residues, tree leaves and planted grasses can also be
utilised. Goat development should increase the number of
animals but greater importance should be attached to
The development scale is
determined by effective exploitation and sustainable
utilization, realising the integration of goat farming
development and ecological protection.