Productivity of goats and their contribution to household food security in high potential areas of East Africa: A case of Mgeta, Tanzania
This study evaluated smallholder production systems in the rural areas of Tanzania and their contribution to household protein supply. Animals kept on the farms were either a combination of dairy and meat goats, dairy goats only, meat goats only or dairy and meat goats in combination with pigs. Vegetable and fruit for sale and maize were the most important produce on the farms. Before introduction of dairy goats, meat goats and pigs were kept on farms with manure being an important output from the latter. The analysis of the systems was based on data collected on goat production performance in 1996 and a survey conducted in 2003 in four villages in Mgeta Division of Mvomero District, Morogoro, Tanzania. The systems involved pure Small East African goats, Norwegian goats and their crosses. Results indicated that lactation yield increased with increasing proportions of dairy goat genes with the purebred Norwegian dairy goats producing the highest amount of milk. However, these goats had higher kid mortality rate compared to the other genetic groups. The analysis of the production systems indicated wide variation with respect to protein supply. Estimated amount of animal protein available for human consumption within households was highest in the production system in which dairy goats were kept (22g/person/day) while the system with meat goats only supplied 1 g/person/day. It is concluded that the introduction of dairy goats has improved nutrition in Tanzanian households keeping dairy goats. Intake of animal protein is generally low in villages not keeping dairy goats in Morogoro Region, Tanzania. This research suggests smallholder dairy goat keeping being an effective tool for improving the diet. Livestock products not only provide high-value protein but are also important sources of a wide range of essential micronutrients such as iron and zinc, and vitamins such as vitamin A. In addition to milk and meat, manure is also an important by-product for farmers in this area, and is used to fertilize vegetable plots. For the large majority of people in the world, particularly in developing countries, livestock remains a desired source of food for nutritional value and taste. Multipurpose goats can be recommended introduced, particularly in low-income household in order to maximize food production and security.
Keywords: Goat production systems, human nutrition.
AJFAND Vol. 8 (3) 2008: pp. 278-290
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