Large increases in goat meat production are possible in Ethiopia and India, says new study

by Jeda Palmer and Vanessa Meadu

Small ruminants such as goats are an important source of income for smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. The LiveGAPS project, led by CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) work investigated potential for different intervention packages to increase yields and profitability of goat meat production in Ethiopia and India. The results are published in a new paper, “Closing yield gaps in smallholder goat production systems in Ethiopia and India“. 

Packages were based on improved nutrition, reduced flock mortality from improved control of health and diseases, and replacing indigenous livestock with improved goat breeds. Researchers used household modelling to simulate the effects of interventions on goat production and household income in the extensive lowland grazing zone and highland mixed crop-livestock zones of Ethiopia, and the extensive arid zone of India.

Watch: how LiveGAPS is assisting farmers in sub Saharan Africa and Asia to improve their livestock yields

The analysis shows that there are opportunities to increase goat meat production in both countries. 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. Importantly, interventions resulting in the biggest increases in goat meat production or number of animals sold did not always give the highest profits.

Read the paper: 

Mayberry D, Ash A, Prestwidge D, Herrero M. 2018. Closing yield gaps in smallholder goat production systems in Ethiopia and India. Livestock Science. 214(238-244). DOI: 10.1016/j.livsci.2018.06.015


Jeda Palmer is a Research Technician with the Global Food and Nutrition Security Group at CSIRO – the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Brisbane, Australia. Vanessa Meadu is Communications and Knowledge Exchange Specialist for SEBI – Supporting Evidence Based Interventions, which coordinates the Livestock Data for Decisions (LD4D) Community of Practice. The LiveGAPS 2 project is part of  LD4D.

Image credit: Goats in Rural India by Sage Andreasen

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