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.
In recognition of its importance, several advanced technologies have been developed to increase goat production in some advanced countries. This technology improvement widely ranged from reproductive techniques and seasonal breeding, to silage making, agricultural by-product utilization, slotted slat barn facilities and total mix ration. However, most Asian small-scale goat farmers do not have access to these relevant information and advanced technologies for increased outputs, giving them very limited opportunities to improve their production as well as their livelihood.
There is an enormous potential for small-scale, low-input goat production to make an important contribution to poverty alleviation and rural development in the Asian region. Goats are a most likely alternative source of animal protein, and can efficiently provide meat and milk to complement cattle and buffalo production.
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.
Currently, there is a surge in the demand for goats, paving the way for what some countries now call as the "goat revolution". Goat raising has become not just for the Asian rural farm households. It has emerged as a popular business option for many affluent entrepreneurs in some Asian countries. Seeing great economic potentials, many have gone into goat raising as a business, with some importing exotic stocks and venturing into breeding on a commercial scale. Therefore, the goat industry has continuously been growing as local demand for goat meat and milk increases.
In addition to daily consumption, goat meat has been recognized traditionally as a healthy or functional food, or for health-giving purposes other than for dietary purposes. For instance, in Korea, goats are generally regarded as a healthy food source that helps the human body to get used to seasonal climatic changes.
The production systems practiced by smallholders depend on many factors such as investment, herd size, availability of grazing areas, and availability of feed supplies that can be categorized into extensive, semi-intensive, intensive, and integration with tree crops.
Extensive or free-range and semi-intensive systems are the most common practice among smallholders in Asia. The livestock-tree crop integrated system, where the animals are reared under tree crops such as rubber, oil palm and fruit trees, is also commonly practiced. However, as the goat industry continues to grow, the production system has gradually improved toward a more commercial oriented management system. Hence, it is important to provide small-scale farmers with scientific and technological information, as well as support services such as credit and infrastructure assistance, to enable them to thrive and compete in this growing industry.
The major constrains in goat production system in most Asian countries are recognized as follows:
Through the years, research and development have resulted in advanced technologies and efficient cultural practices in improving goat production. 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 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.
Held in Bogor, Indonesia, August 4-8, 2008
No. of participating countries: 7 (Taiwan ROC, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia)
No. of papers presented: 11
No. of participants: 11 speakers and about 40 local participants/organizers
Co-sponsor: Indonesian Research Institute for Animal Production (IRIAP)
For further information, contact:
Mr. Shan-Nan Lee, FFTC Technical Consultant
Figure 1 Mountain grazing of Korean black goats, believed to be a healthy food source that helps the human body to get used to seasonal climatic changes.
Figure 2 Participants visit the PT Bangun Karsa Dairy Goat Farm in Bogor, Indonesia.
Figure 3 Good Goat Milk (GGM) certification
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