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 September 10 2008
Participants visit the PT Bangun Karsa Dairy Goat Farm in Bogor, Indonesia for an exchange and sharing of ideas with the farm cooperative manager and a tour of the farm's dairy goat production facilities.

Participants visit the PT Bangun Karsa Dairy Goat Farm in Bogor, Indonesia for an exchange and sharing of ideas with the farm cooperative manager and a tour of the farm's dairy goat production facilities.

BOGOR, INDONESIA - Goat undeniably plays a vital role in the rural economy of many developing countries in Asia. It is a good source of income for small-scale farmers, and is an important protein source especially of the poor in the rural areas. However, the contribution of goats to the people and the economy is well underestimated due to their small-scale production. Hence, goat farmers must have better access to relevant information and advanced technologies to improve their production and their livelihoods as well.

Throughout the developing countries in Asia, goats are very important in the protein diets of the people, as well as a good, stable source of livelihood especially for the poor in the rural areas. Goat production is mostly carried out by smallholders where the animals are kept in small flocks at an average of 5-10 head/family. While rearing of goat remains at a subsistence level, it contribution to the total farm income is substantial. Goat production fits well in the rural landscape as well as in the resource capacity of smallholder farmers. It requires low initial capital and guarantees a high return on investment in as fast as two years; hence it is an attractive undertaking among rural households.

However, the contributions of goats to the people and economies of developing countries is well underestimated, basically because their production is considered as small in scale, and goat products seldom enter a formal marketing system. For these reasons, goats are accorded a low status and given a low priority in national development in most Asian countries.

For these reasons, FFTC, together with the Research Institute for Animal Production (RIAP) of Indonesia and the Livestock Research Institute, Council of Agriculture (LRI, COA) of Taiwan ROC, joined forces to organize the international seminar on Production Increases in Meat Goat and Dairy Goat by Incremental Improvements of Technology and Infrastructure for Asian Small-Scale Farmers. Held in Bogor, Indonesia on August 4-8, 2008, the seminar primarily aimed to provide a forum for the sharing and exchange of technology and information among countries within the region toward contributing to the improvement of small-scale goat meat and milk production and to poverty alleviation and the attainment of improved food quality and livelihood especially in the developing countries.

Some of the major issues and constraints in goat production in most Asian countries identified during the workshop includes the following:

  1. Rearing system: unavailability of suitable breeding goats; lack of suitable land and feed resources; inadequacy of knowledge of goat husbandry among the farmers; lack of effective disease prevention and control program; and lack of good production practice program for the farmers.
  2. Management systems: inadequate planning and system to utilize goat by-products; inadequacy in technical knowledge; and insufficient farm labor.
  3. Marketing: inadequate promotion of goat product consumption; lack of continuous marketing promotion for live goat and its products; prices of goat meat and milk are mostly higher than other sources; inadequacy of goat products in the market; and lack of cooperation among goat farmers for marketing purpose.
  4. Food culture: goat meat is not commonly a part of the meal of most Asians except those of Malay, Arab and Chinese descents; and people have aversion over the strong smell in goat meat and milk.

Meanwhile, one recommendation identified is the conduct of specific studies on the crossing of local goats with introduced breeds, nutrition and feed resource availability and quality, animal health management, and product processing have led to improved goat production, especially when introduced for adoption to local farmers through village demonstrations on sustainable livestock farming systems. The potential to develop and further expand goat production systems has been recognized, such that collaborative research programs among livestock experts in the Asian region must be pursued toward stimulating further the development of goat production.

In view of the growing demand for goat meat and milk, each country must also formulate a long-term development plan considering the following factors: a) fostering goat production especially where sources of raw feed materials are abundant; b) provision of credit assistance to encourage private investment; c) development of an integrated goat production center; d) selection and improvement of the best available genetic resources of goats; and e) human resources development throughout the milk and meat value chain (production, processing and marketing).

Improved goat production can also be realized through the application and adoption of breeding technologies, better utilization of local feed resources, and establishment of milk collection and processing systems in a sustainable integrated livestock farming system. Meanwhile, the challenge for increasing goat meat production is a huge and exciting task. The main objective is to increase the goat population in terms of both quantity and quality. The establishment of several nucleus farms will pave the way for the development of the goat industry.

Assisted reproductive technologies must also be addressed as vital tools in enhancing goat breeding improvement programs. However, the effectiveness of these reproductive techniques and the expected benefits to the goat farmers will largely depend on the accuracy of identifying the best bucks and does through a well planned breeding objective, selection and mating program.