Status of Commercial Goat
Status of Commercial Goat
STATUS AND PROSPECTS OF COMMERCIAL GOAT FARMING IN INDIA
Goats play an important role in the rural economy at national level. More than 70 percent of the landless agricultural laborers and marginal and small farmers of the rural India rear them.
The socio-economic value of goat rearing as compared to other livestock species has been immense for the poor farmers. The low input, high fecundity, easy marketing and un prejudiced social ear acceptance of their products are few of many advantages of this enterprise that provides assured higher income.
Goats are also among the main meat-producing animals in India, whose meat (chevron) is readily preferred irrespective of caste, creed and religion. They produce a variety of products, mainly meat, milk, skin, wool and manure.
The goats are particularly useful in the semiarid, area arid and mountainous regions, where they can sustain on sparse vegetation and extreme climatic conditions. Further, wherever irrigation facilities are poor, one can generally find large areas of the waste and other common property land; on which the small ruminants of rural resource-poor households can survive. A major part of their fodder requirement is met through such waste and other common property lands. It has been argued that these rural households have often developed highly efficient agricultural and livelihood systems that make the most rational and conservative use of the scarce resources available to them (Barbier, 1989). The rural poor who cannot afford to maintain a cow or a buffalo find goat/ sheep as the -best alternative source of supplementary income and milk. This is one reason why poor rural households maintain a few number of goats.
Unlike a cow or buffalo, a few goats can be maintained easily and can be easily sold in the years led of drought Therefore this sector assumes critical importance in rain-fed areas, high altitudes as well as in wasteland and fragile zones having low agricultural productivity. However the productivity of goats under the prevailing extensive production system is very low. It is mainly because the animals are reared on natural vegetation on degraded common grazing lands, wastelands, stubbles and tree lopping. Even these degraded grazing resources are shrinking continuously. Moreover the improved production technologies/ management practice in the farmers ‘flocks are very low. Therefore, rearing of goats under intensive and semi-intensive system using improved production and processing meat, technologies for commercial production will be needed for realizing their full potential Growth and distribution.
Professionals, ex-servicemen and educated youth to take up the goat enterprise on commercial scale, This trend of commercialization is especially prominent in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where availability of grazing resources is relatively better.
Even there are number of commercial goat farms doing well, who got knowledge of scientific goat rearing from other institutions. All these commercial farmers are well educated and have better access to technical and market information contrary to the traditional goat farmers who in majorities are illiterate and belong to the poor section of rural population.
This trend of commercialization in goat production deriving entrepreneurs looking for higher productivity and profitability seems desirable. More commercialization would encourage Intensification of goat production hitherto highly extensive system depending only on grazing in degraded common lands. Commercialization might not only help in increasing the productivity of goats by having better access to critical inputs and technical knowledge, but may also relieve some pressure from the grazing lands. Animals in commercial production system would have to depend on alternative sources of fodder like agro-forestry, tree leaves and partial/ complete stall-feeding reducing the dependency on common grazing lands. Moreover, the commercial goat entrepreneurs would also be better placed in meeting the quality standards necessary for exports of goats and their products to large expanding international market particularly West Asia and Southeast Asia.
Therefore along with the extensive production system, the trend of commercialization of goat enterprise needs to be encouraged. Intensification and commercialization of goat enterprise is also important because of shrinking of resources for extensive grazing. Commercialization will help in it increasing the goat productivity to some extent and bridging the demand-supply gap. It seems to be a better option for increasing productivity and production from goats, but it will have its own associated problems and challenges like high incidence of diseases in large flocks, if not managed properly. The losses due to diseases and parasites could be minimized by using recommended preventive goat health calendar and management practices.
Dr. Shelendra kumar
Central Institute for Research on Goats (CIRG)
National Workshop-cum-Seminar on
Commercial Goat & Sheep Farming and Marketing: Farmer-Industry-Researcher interface