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Goat production check list. Guidelines for preparation and implementation of smallholder goat projects
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Goat production check list. Guidelines for preparation and implementation of smallholder goat projects


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This check list, financed by DanChurchAid (, highlights all issues should be carefully investigated before investing in distribution of goats and in interventions to …

This check list, financed by DanChurchAid (, highlights all issues should be carefully investigated before investing in distribution of goats and in interventions to assist poor rural communities to improve their livelihood through goat production.

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  • 1. GOAT PRODUCTION CHECK LIST. GUIDELINES FOR PREPARATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SMALLHOLDER GOAT PROJECTS. 1 Jørgen Henriksen, 2Mette Olaf Nielsen, 3Jørgen Madsen, 4Hans Askov Jensen and 5Torsten Mandal 1 Henriksen Advice, Copenhagen, 2 Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 3 Department of Large Animal Science Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C., Denmark 4 Development Consultant, Copenhagen 5 Development Consultant, Copenhagen Part I. Before investing in distribution of goats and interventions to assist poor rural communities toimprove their livelihood through diversifying into goat production, the following issues should be carefully investigated:A: Is it advisable and feasible to invest in / introduce small holder goat production in the local context? Are the local environmental conditions conducive for keeping goats? 1. How are the goats going to be kept? (tethered, fenced, loose) 2. Who is going to look after the goats? 3. What feeds are the goats going to get? 4. Do other farmers in the neighbourhood keep goats? 5. Does the vegetation look as if it is suitable for grazing goats/risk for overgrazing? 6. Do all villagers agree to the idea of introducing goats/more goats to the locality? Is there a market for the goat products? 7. Are the goat products for home consumption or for the market? 8. Is there potential for growing demand for locally produced goat products? 9. Is there potential for growing local demand for goat products? 10. Are the price for the locally produced goat products competitive/can it become competitive? Is it cost effective for small holders to engage in goat production? 11. Is the income/ food production margin on goat production higher than benefits from alternative activities, e.g. food crops, poultry, cash crop, casual work? 12. Can the small holder goat keeper reduce production cost compared to traditional goat keeping? 13. Can transaction and marketing costs be reduced? 1
  • 2. B: Are investments in marketing needed and should the investments be in the formal and/or informal market? 1. Are the products only for home consumption? 2. Should investment be in the formal market? 3. Is the formal market important? 4. Is it possible to increase the demand for goat products in the formal sector? 5. Is the formal market for goat products profitable? 6. Should investments be in the informal market? 7. Is there an informal market structure in place? 8. Are there health hazards and can they be controlled by the public sector?C: Are public investments required to make the smallholder goat production system (more) effective 1. What is the traditional/existing production system? (Zero-grazing/mixed farming/communal grazing/Pastoralist) 2. Is water for increased production available locally? 3. Is it cost effective to invest in water supply? 4. Can feed for increased production be made available locally? 5. Is feed affordable in relation to value of products? 6. Can production system be improved? 7. Do smallholders have the required management capacity/knowledge for effective goat production?D: Are public investments in breeding services required? 1. Is there scope for investments in breeding services (local and/or exotic breeds)? 2. Are the services required for goat production available? (Animal health services; breeding bucks; Advisory services) 3. Are breeding services available? 4. Are breeding services effective? 5. Are breeding services affordable? 6. Is there scope for investment in cross breeding programmes? 7. Are services required for a functional cross breeding in place (Animal health services; breeding bucks; Advisory services) 8. Is it cost effective to invest in cross breeding programme? 9. Are breeding services available? 10. Are breeding services effective? 11. Are breeding services affordable?E: Are goat programme environmental sustainable? 1. Does goat keeping (traditional or promoted) affect the local environment and land- use in some seasons or sites (trees, erosion, surface water run-off, crops etc.)? 2. How and to which extend is grazing and browsing controlled? 2
  • 3. 3. Does the program include appropriate promotion of environmentally beneficial growing of fodder plants (trees, grass etc.)?4. Does the program promote environmental and sustainability awareness?5. Is some kind of monitoring of environmental impact included in order to adjust the program environmentally?6. What are likely indirect effects of the program (e.g. income-alternatives to clearing forest, saving money for more cattle, new projects to ensure sustainability)?7. Is a major increase in the numbers of goats expected?8. Which soil, plant and water related environmental problems are important today?F. Are public investments in clinical animal health services (“private goods”) required?1. Are animal health services available and affordable for the smallholders?2. Are animal health services relevant?3. Are animal health services effective?4. Are animal health services cost effective?5. Can animal services by para-veterinarian be established in the communities in collaboration with central veterinary clinics operated by private veterinarians (or public veterinary officers)?G: Are public investments in veterinary public health and animal health preventive services (“public goods”) required?1. Are there veterinary public health hazards?2. Is there a sufficient regulatory framework in place?3. Is the regulatory framework enforced?4. Are the services cost effective?H: Are public investments in advisory services required?1. Is there scope for investment in existing advisory services?2. Are they relevant?3. Are they effective?4. Are the advisory services available and affordable for the smallholders?5. Are the services cost effective?I: Are public investments in (livestock and) goat keeper’s education/training required?1. Is there scope for investing in existing goat farmer education?2. Is it feasible for smallholders to undertake the education/training?3. Is education/training in goat production available?4. Is the existing education/training relevant? 3
  • 4. 5. Is the existing education/training cost effective? J: Are public investments in feed cultivation and environment needed? 1. Is there scope for identifying and introducing fodder species, varieties, and provenances? 2. Is there scope for promoting sustainable multiplication and distribution of seeds, cuttings or seedlings (e.g. by small independent farmers)? 3. Are extension/education/training needed in more than direct goat keeping: e.g. feed cultivation, soil conservation, improved direct seeding of fodder tree legumes, agro-forestry? K: Is public support to goat marketing infrastructure required? 1. Is there scope for investing in goat marketing facilities? 2. Do smallholders have access to market facilities? 3. Is the marketing infrastructure effective? 4. Is it profitable for the smallholders to sell their goat products through the existing market facilities? Part II. After investing in goat production activities and distribution of goats for diversified andimproved livelihood in rural communities the following issues should be carefully investigated during reviews, field and market visits for ensuring economic, social and environmentalsustainability and for identification of needed corrections of project implementation strategy:A: Goat production issues to be quantified: 1. Price of inputs and outputs from production a. Adult goat b. Slaughter goat c. Milk d. Cheese (incl. how much milk is used to produce 1 kg of cheese) e. Feeds that can be purchased in the local markets f. Fodder tree plants g. Veterinary services e.g. treatments against parasites h. Natural mating h. Manure i. Corrall 2. Productivity of goats and profitability of production a. Production i. Live weight of adult goats ii. Live weight at slaughter/ marketing? iii. Milk production 1. Seasonality? 4
  • 5. b. Feeding i. Hours spent grazing per day? 1. Communal areas? 2. Who regulate grazing hours and place and intensity? ii. Access to water? iii. Supplementary feeding 1. Fodder plants – which? Where? 2. “Concentrate” 3. Vitamins and minerals iv. Water c. Fodder plants i. Which kind of trees/plants? ii. How much can be harvested? iii. Where do they grow? Do livestock keepers plant themselves? d. Reproduction i. Litter size ii. Number of matings per pregnancy 1. Availability of males? iii. Age at first kidding iv. Kidding interval v. Seasonality of kidding e. Health i. Abortion rate 1. Seasonality of abortions? 2. Causes? ii. Mortality rate 1. Adults 2. Young kids 3. What do they die from? 4. Seasonality of mortality? iii. Diseases? iv. Animal health services 1. What do they use animal health services for? 2. How often? 3. Who provide animal health service (public or private veterinarians from clinics; paravets operating in the local community)? B. Empowerment issues to be quantified.“Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to makeeffective choices and transform those choices into desired action and outcomes.”Questions to ask: 1. Have you learned from participation in the project how to choose another income generating activity? 2. Who will you consult before you start the activity: None 5
  • 6. Your family Other 3. How will you ensure that the services and inputs you need to operate this activity is timely available?C. Social capital issues to be quantified.“Social capital is the capacity of social groups to cooperate and work together and human capitalis referring to the individual and include besides education and health status also confidence andmotivation.”Questions to ask the group: 1. If your goat became sick, who will you then ask for help? 2. If your child became sick who will you ask for help? 3. If there is not enough feed available for all the goats in the village, how will you then solve the problem? 4. If the goats damage the local environment (over grassing) what will you then do? 5. Would you have answered the questions in same way before you became member of the project? D. Issues about the goat as a tool in poverty alleviation to be quantified“One goat alone cannot lift a family out of poverty, but the process of participating in the projectwith training and participating in a group can be considered as a learning process in which theparticipants learn to establish other income generating activities and chose the activitythemselves.”Questions to ask the group: 1. Have you planned other income generating activities (after the goat)? If yes, how will you do it? (planning, financing, get experience, be member of a group) 2. Can you use the experiences from the goat project to start another income generating activity? 3. What is the most important thing you in this respect have learned? 4. Who, in the family, will take the decision to start a new activity? 6