CHARACTERISTICS OF SMALL-HOLDER DAIRY GOAT PRODUCTION IN THREE DISTRICTS OF BOTSWANA

K. Dipheko, G.S. Mpapho, S.J. Nsoso, J.M. Kamau, W. Mahabile, W. Mugabe

Abstract


Small-holder dairy goat production systems are potentially important among the avenues of food production and provides a regular income and work for the less resourced households. Dairy goat production in Botswana has not gained much popularity due to the fact that dairy goats and goat milk has not been the subject of much research and development and is not among the local milk production improvement schemes. The objectives of this study were to describe the smallholder dairy goat production in Central, Kgatleng and Kweneng districts of Botswana, identify their production challenges and marketing opportunities; and suggest strategies that can be used to increase local dairy goat milk yield. Data were collected using structured questionnaires and through direct observations. There were only 12 dairy goat farmers in the study area. The results showed that majority of dairy goat farmers held a junior degree qualification (9/12) and had less than five years keeping dairy goats. Fifty-two per cent (52%) of the 100 dairy goat breeds kept by farmers were the Saanen, 30% indigenous x exotic crosses, 12% Toggenburg and 6% British Alpine. Dairy goat farmers practised a semi-intensive production system with average milk production estimated to be 2kg/d milk per goat at peak lactation. Insufficient quality feeds, unavailability of breeding stock, and lack of financial assistance to dairy goat farming were the major constraints to dairy goat farmers. The opportunities that were available to dairy goat farmers included the high local milk demand, potentials for dairy goat stud breeding and fodder production. In conclusion, local dairy goat farmers should be up skilled on the management principles of dairy goat production. They should also adopt proper breeding strategies and feed local affordable quality feeds in order to increase the productivity of dairy goats in Botswana. We recommend the government to promote dairy goat production and consider it as an economic diversification derive by including goat milk production in local milk production improvement schemes.


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