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Improved household income

Milk

Even without expensive high-energy supplements (‘concentrates’), a good dairy goat can produce 2 litres of milk a day, just feeding on the greenstuff available to local farmers. Even for goats producing only 1 litre a day, it is common for the farmers to keep half for household consumption and sell half to a neighbour - often for feeding a baby. This provides a valuable regular income.

Breeding stock

At present there is a good market in breeding stock, which can be sold at well above the market rate for goats for slaughter. This is giving many keepers of Boer or dairy goats a good income.

As the numbers of improved goats in Uganda increases, it will be necessary for breeders to improve their record keeping in order keep up with an increasingly sophisticated market.

Meat

Despite the current demand for breeding stock, it is important to remember that once there are sufficient improved breeds available, the majority of kids born will be destined for the meat market.

Dairy goats are fast-growing, but tend to be thin. However, if the females are mated to meat males, the kids have excellent properties for meat production. Sale of young goats provide lump sum income for school fees, medical bills etc., and are an important part of the economics of goat keeping.

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Commercialisation

The income described above makes goat keeping worthwhile, but to make it more reliable more organised marketing is required.

For milk, around 500 small-scale farmers must cooperate to pool their milk via a dairy, as has been done through FARM-Africa in Kenya.

Cooperation can also help in marketing goats for meat. If farmers can sell together, transport costs are reduced and they get a better price.

These are long-term aims for when there are enough active farmers.

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Dairy crosses bred from males at JOY Youth Training Centre Goats milk dairy in Meru, Kenya