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Increasing goat production

Photo credit: Jeda Palmer.

We found that there are opportunities to increase goat meat production in both Ethiopia and India. Reproduction, liveweight gain and survival rates can be increased through better nutrition, genetics and healthcare, but the biggest increase in production and profits occurred when multiple interventions were combined (see table).

Average annual productivity and profit for baseline scenarios and modelled interventions to increase goat meat production in Ethiopia and India. Scenarios are ranked by production (liveweight of goats available for sale or consumption by household) within each site. LG: lowland grazing pastoral zone; MRD: mixed crop-livestock rainfall deficient zone; MRS: mixed crop-livestock rainfall sufficient zone. W: liveweight. Profit is from livestock production only. 1 USD = 22 ETB or 66 INR. Table from Mayberry et al. (2018).

In Ethiopia we found that:

  • In the lowland region, improving forage quality dramatically increased productivity and profit for both local breeds and crossbred goats.
  • A combination of crossbred goats, legume addition and improved livestock health (reduced mortality) resulted in the highest production and profits.
  • In the mixed crop-livestock rainfall deficient zone, improving nutrition through better forages resulted in reduced mortality rates, a three-fold increase in productivity, and a shift from financial losses to significant profit.
  • The profitability and productivity of goat production were both increased through improving healthcare, but the biggest improvements occurred when improved healthcare was coupled with better livestock nutrition.
  • Feeding goats noug seed cake improved productivity by 37%, and although profitability was still modest, it was almost three times that of the baseline simulation.

In India we found that:

  • Improving livestock nutrition increased production through higher reproduction and growth rates, and decreased mortality of both adults and kids.
  • Supplementing does with wheat bran provided the largest increase in production. However, it was also the most expensive intervention, with a smaller profit than the baseline scenario.
  • While improving livestock nutrition through unrestricted access to grazing land (lower stocking rates) or improved pastures resulted in smaller increases in production, these scenarios provided the biggest increases in household income.
  • Improved healthcare only caused a small decrease in mortality rates and minimal increase in profit when livestock nutrition was not also addressed.
  • Improved health care had a much larger impact on production and income when combined with an intervention that also addressed goat nutrition.

Reference: Mayberry et al. (2018) Closing yield gaps in smallholder goat production systems in Ethiopia and India. Livestock Science 214, 238-244.