Ten reasons why we work with goats
28 October 2016
Goats are fantastic animals, and can provide milk, meat and money for the rural families that keep them. Here are a few reasons why Farm Africa invests in goats in eastern Africa:
1. Goats are well-adapted to harsh African landscapes, as their grazing preferences mean they will feed on weeds, shrubs and other plants that other domestic animals refuse to eat.
2. Goats are small and require less space than larger animals. They also have a shorter reproduction cycle, so it’s easier to rebuild population numbers if they drop after a drought.
3. Goats are easier to work with than large livestock and are cheaper to buy and maintain.
4. They can also be a vital source of income, not just producing meat and milk, but also value-added products such as cheese and butter, which smallholders can sell for bigger profits at market.
5. Goats produce manure that can be used to fertilise crops,which makes them even more useful for smallholder farmers.
6. Goats can also build resilience to climate change – keeping goats alongside other livestock and crop production means that farmers have another stream of income if either their crops or cattle are affected by drought.
7. In two years Farm Africa distributed 1461 female goats and sheep to 487 women farmers in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, who then passed on 1,013 goats to other women in the community once their animals had bred.
8. As part of this project, sales of milk helped to raise incomes by approximately £125 per household in the first year, and this rises each year as goat herds increase in number.
9. We also ran a project in the southern provinces of Ethiopia to economically empower rural women. We helped 6,400 women to keep goats and sheep, and increased livestock ownership rates by 57%.
10. Farm Africa helped to provide veterinary support and access to water and animal feed to households in the Afar region of Ethiopia during a recent drought, so that animals could be kept healthy and farming families wouldn’t lose valuable assets.