Goat Production in Eastern Africa: Practices, Breed Characteristics, and Opportunities for Their Sustainability

  • Anne W. T. Muigai
  • Ally M. Okeyo
  • Julie M. K. Ojango
Chapter

Abstract

It is estimated that 14% of the livestock in Eastern Africa are comprised of 146 million goats. The goats are in varying agroecological zones under farming systems ranging from small-scale mixed crop–livestock systems with a few animals raised on limited land resources, to extensive pastoral systems where large numbers of animals are raised on large tracts of land. The goats are raised primarily for meat, with milk treated as a secondary trait. Use of goat products at rural household levels in the region is not well documented. The goat populations have been developed over time through selection processes resulting in diverse goat breeds, with some adapted to harsh environmental conditions. In recent years, a strong drive to increase the productivity of goats has resulted in changes in breeding and management strategies and practices, including introduction of foreign breeds, mainly from temperate environments for use in crossbreeding programs, and a narrowing of the range and diversity of indigenous breed types. This, in addition to a lack of detailed information on the characteristics of the indigenous breeds, threatens the existing diversity of goat populations. This chapter presents an overview of the present-day indigenous goat breeds and the production systems under which they are raised in Eastern Africa. The chapter also highlights key constraints to improving goat productivity and outlines opportunities and changes to mitigate threats within the farming systems. The growing populations of goats and their potential for improving the livelihood of different communities call for innovative strategies to reduce their environmental footprint in the existing ecosystems.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge support for this study through the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the African Union-Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne W. T. Muigai
    • 1
  • Ally M. Okeyo
    • 2
  • Julie M. K. Ojango
    • 2
  1. 1.Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, JujaNairobiKenya
  2. 2.International Livestock Research Institute, NairobiNairobiKenya

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