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Goat Milk

Basic Diet

In many parts of Uganda milk is scarce and expensive, so a majority of people have no opportunity to get it. Generally in these areas the diet is high in starch and fibre, but low in fat and protein which milk could provide.

Dairy goats provide an excellent opportunity for such people to improve the quality of their diet while increasing the overall productivity of their farm.

Specific Beneficiaries

Goats milk is easier to digest than cows milk, and also much less liable to cause problems of ‘allergy’ (intolerance). For this reason it is particularly useful for infant feeding. It must be stressed that the best milk for a baby is its mothers own milk, but if this is unavailable, or at weaning, goats milk is the next best choice.

For similar reasons, patients and convalescents find it very useful. For instance, AIDS patients who often have frequent digestive disorders can benefit from this easily digested source of concentrated nutrition.

HIV+ mothers

HIV is carried in breast milk, but while the baby is only receiving breast milk the risk of infection is very low. But as soon as any solid food is given, the risk becomes much higher (ref) - even if the ‘solid’ food is porridge. Avoiding this by abrupt weaning is traumatic to mother and baby, and there is a risk to the baby’s health from poorer nutrition.

In one of our partner projects, goats milk is used as a bridging food, to enable a longer weaning period; and also as a nutritional supplement once the baby is weaned.


In Uganda lots of people cannot take milk because it causes stomach or intestinal disturbance, or occasionally facial swellings or other symptoms. We estimate that this affects around 5% of the population. So far, among those willing to try it, we have seen no ill effects when such people take goats milk. This cannot be a lactose intolerance, which would apply to both goats and cows milk. Whatever the origin, we have clearly seen that goats milk does not have the same problems as cows milk. For advice and a good summary of this issue see the St Helen’s Farm information sheet.

Milking a crossbred dairy goat at JOY Youth Training Centre Drinking milk at JOY Youth Training Centre